Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World – Review


Rodriguez still has the kids’ children formula down pat

When all is said and done about Robert Rodriguez’s career, he’ll have a resume of polar opposites when it comes to his film catalog. On the one hand he’s a man famous for the R-rated action film, starting with his Mariachi trilogy and including such films as Machete and From Dusk till Dawn. And then there’s the Rodriguez who has made another successful career as a maker of family friendly children’s films, most famously his Spy Kids franchise. And now he returns to his other career path as a children’s film director with Spy Kids: All the Time in the World.

With the franchise having run its course nearly a decade ago, Rodriguez has a pair of new kids (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook) to compliment his old stars (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) and a brand new pair of parents (Joel McHale and Jessica Alba) to be saved. Throw in character actor, and Entourage star, Jeremy Piven as the scenery chomping villain to the mix and you have all the requisites to launch Spy KidsSpy Kids and while this is meant as a reboot Rodriguez hasn’t done anything he’s done before with the franchise. All the signature camera movements and characters, et al, have been transplanted for a new group of children to grow up with. Those who grew up on the original franchise are teenagers now, thus this is a nice bridge from that trilogy to this. It’ll be a twinge of nostalgia, for lack of a better word, for teenagers and give a new generation two new children to grow up with as spies who happen to be children.

Unfortunately it’s not all that entertaining if you’re over the age of eight. One of the things that Rodriguez is known for as a director is the ability to cater to his audience. His R-rated films make no pretension about appealing to an adult audience whereas his children’s films cater exclusively to children. Spy Kids 4 is aimed for the children and their parents will be remarkably bored because the film isn’t a smart or intelligently designed one. It’s simple because it’s designed for an audience that won’t appreciate a more nuanced plot.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World may not be the worst children’s film of 2011 but it certainly won’t win any accolades for quality. Children will enjoy it, and it’s short enough to be innocuous, but it’s a children’s film that doesn’t aspire to do anything more than appeal to a crowd that doesn’t need or appreciate nuance.

Writer / Director: Robert Rodriguez
Notable Cast: Jessica Alba, Mason Cook, Rowan Blanchard, Joel McHale, Jeremy Piven, Daryl Sabara, Alexa Varga

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