You can file this under “Movies Mike saw so you don’t have to”. I had a pair of Fandango passes that had to be used by Friday, and this was pretty much the only movie left in theaters that was age appropriate. ‘Appropriate’ might actually be a stretch, as vomit/fart/poop laden ‘comedy’ isn’t really appropriate for a movie that should be fun. I could see one or two of the jokes staying but once you get past that, it’s just tedious.
Jessica Alba plays Marissa, an agent of the OSS (the spy agency in all of the movies), and we first see her 9 months pregnant, trying to stop a villain while on the way to the hospital to deliver. We meet her bratty (of course!) step-daughter Rebecca, and her nerdy brother Cecil. Marissa delivers the villain just before the baby, and we find out that this is her ‘final job’ before retiring. Fast-forward one year, and we see Marissa struggling with taking care of the three kids, as Rebecca is apparently a prankster who targets her all the time. The dad (we’ll call him Whatshisface, as that’s how lame he is) is never home and the kids are resentful. I actually felt bad for Joel McHale, the actor who plays Whatshisface, as he is Jessica Alba’s movie husband and he pretty much just gets to hug her.
If you are thinking this sounds like every other lowest common denominator kid’s movie, you are correct. Oh, and that’s forgetting the talking ‘spy dog’ that protects the kids voiced by Ricky Gervais. Can’t forget that. If there is one bright spot, it might have to be Jeremy Piven as, well (SPOILER) all the various villains, including the faceless henchmen of ‘The Timekeeper’. He plays a character whose body was trapped in time by his father’s early experiments in time travel (yet he could witness time passing himself). He watched his father (who had workaholic parallels with the Whatshisface character of course) wither and die trying to rescue him. That could mess a kid up, right?
What is revealed in the end game is that the other villain (Tik Tok) and all the henchmen are ALSO that same kid, having successfully time travelled numerous times but never succeeding in getting more time with his dad. That’s actually a pretty clever plot and reveal, to be honest, and it’s utterly wasted by the hour of gross-out jokes and hamfaced acting by the rest of the cast. Of course the kids, armed with equipment from the defunct Spy Kids program save the day, with help from the stars of the previous Spy Kids movies.
Everything gets wrapped up neatly enough, of course the children love their stepmom now that they know she’s a spy, Whatshisface resolves to spend more time with his family, and the Spy Kids program gets reactivated. Hooray. If you’ve managed to avoid seeing this, you might luck out – it should be out of theaters soon. If your kids are insistent, see it at a second-run theater, on whatever the cheapest day is. Maybe trick grandma into taking them, the only other group in the theater had done just that.
(almost forgot – the ‘Aroma-Scope’ card was lame, smelled like all the scratch and sniff stuff you had as a kid.)