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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25%
Worth A Look56.25%
Average: 1.79%
Pretty Bad: 7.14%
Total Crap: 9.82%

10 reviews, 52 user ratings

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Spy Kids
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"A Big, Funny Live-Action Pop-Up Book"
4 stars

Spy Kids is a movie that harkens me back to the kind of film I really enjoyed as a child. When I was first discovering movies as a means to supplement my imagination, my favorite ones dealt with characters that got swept up in marvelous adventures that usually involved a dash of fantasy. The Star Wars and Indiana Jones series were just starting points to the direction of other beloved titles like Cloak and Dagger, Explorers and Tron. And if Spy Kids came out during that period in my life, it most assuredly would have made that list.

Taking a cue from the world of once upon a time, Spy Kids starts its tale with a bedtime story of the world’s two greatest spies and how they fell in love. Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino), once assigned to eliminate each other, decided to team up and take on the greatest challenge that agents of their caliber could ever face: marriage.

Now retired and taking on the even greater responsibility of parenthood with their children Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara), Gregorio & Ingrid still like to keep in touch with the gadgets hidden around their home and dream of just one more opportunity to “save the world…again.” But their plans are foiled when they are kidnapped by criminal mastermind Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming) and sidekick, Minion (Tony Shalhoub) who run a colorfully devious children’s show to the likes of the Teletubbies on Barney’s acid stash.

So it’s up to Carmen and Juni to face the truth about their parents in order to save them from Floop’s evil clutches. Carmen, being the eldest, takes charge over her younger, more fearful, brother as they must outwit the baddies underwater, in flight and on the playground. Imagine James Bond meeting Harry Potter and you start to get the picture.

And that’s really all there is to get. Obviously, there are twists and turns and more to the bad guys’ plot, but none of that is going to get you into the theater any quicker. This is a film where your imagination better be on and your head tuned off to logic or the simply fun nature of it all will not grab you. One only has to open their eyes to see that everyone involved with this project is having fun.

Antonio Banderas is a natural comedic actor and he’s matched well with Gugino who possesses the ability to be both maternal and enormously sexy. Alan Cumming specializes in playing conniving sleazeballs, but also blends his evilness with a childlike innocence that is perfect for the material. Tony Shalhoub is a priceless character actor, especially in a comedy, and he gets laughs just by his mere presence. Same goes for Robert Patrick who gets a couple of big laughs in just a couple of scenes. But the biggest surprise of the film is in store for audiences during the final scene, with a great cameo, who manages to all but steal the movie. I could almost recommend the film solely for this moment.

As for the spy kids, Alexa Vega projects an intelligence beyond her years and it’ll be interesting to follow her career while Daryl Sabara seems to be, well, a kid trying his hardest to act. Sometimes it fits just right and other times, well, kids will be kids. I’m not about to critically mash him Jake Lloyd-style as he’s suitable enough for the puerile nature of the adventure.

Clearly the biggest star of the film though is writer/director Robert Rodriguez, who continues to prove that he is one of the best constructors of solid entertainment in the business. With only a handful of films under his belt, Rodriguez always displays the kind of energy that hack music video directors want to show off, while still telling the audience a story. He doesn’t use flash as a run-on sentence. He uses it as punctuation. His elevated level of action is a highlight of his El Mariachi films and From Dusk Till Dawn, but witness his segment in the Four Rooms anthology. 20 minutes of solid laughs in a live-action cartoon about two misbehaving children in a hotel and their torture of the bellhop who fears their parents. Spy Kids follows in the same tradition.

It’s a big, extended live-action pop-up book that adults will be able to smile with alongside their own kids. In an era when kids are subjected to thoughtless, soulless ridiculously uninspired marketing schemes like the Power Rangers and Pokemon, here comes an imaginative, hilarious, exciting, special-effects filled extravaganza with positive messages about family where nobody swears, nobody is killed and everyone is guaranteed a good time.

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originally posted: 03/29/01 04:13:59
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User Comments

1/10/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
4/01/06 Rose Marie the director is crud, the movie is crap!the cast is all wrong and horibble! 1 stars
3/31/06 Anthony Feor A great kid flick 4 stars
3/26/06 Quigley whoa, people, explain the high ratings. it is crap. even antonio banderas didn't save it! 1 stars
9/14/05 Jonathon Holmes great fun 4 stars
8/06/05 Zack What was Robert Rodriguez thinking?!? 1 stars
6/14/05 Agent Sands An overlooked gem. 4 stars
12/10/04 Kristina Williams not a bad kids flick. I can sit through it without howling 4 stars
10/07/04 tatum Big loud fun 4 stars
8/31/04 aussieemmy hey this movie stars Cheech, so any one dissing this movie sucks! 5 stars
8/04/04 Katie This movie is great! The cast is awesome and the story is fun. 5 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Very fakey, somewhat boring, not very funny. 2 stars
12/03/03 Mr. Hat (previously Joe Zappa) It, as well as 2 & 3, are much better than the average kids' movie!! 5 stars
8/30/03 DEVON look, daryl is hot,smart, and turkish, you have a big mouth, you sorry jerk!!! 5 stars
7/26/03 Christian Harding Ideotic humor+some (as in 1 or 2) interesting scenes+weird characters=Spy Kids 3 stars
7/18/03 Chris Entertaing but not without flaws. Still it's style was unseen before. My family enjoyed it. 4 stars
6/20/03 jim movie sucks totall ass, unless ur a 6 year old, be ashamed of urself for liking this movie 1 stars
6/15/03 josh love to see an x-rated virsin 5 stars
6/10/03 Jareth Much better than the last 10 Bonds films 4 stars
2/21/03 scott SHUT UP ALEX THIS MOVIE ROCKS 5 stars
1/27/03 alex why do pussy like andrew patrick watch fuckin kid movies like spy kids, man up u littlegil 1 stars
12/17/02 Laura *Mrs. Floop* This movie is my favourite movie of all time. It is fantasticly made and Floop is gorgeous! 5 stars
8/25/02 Turkish blew total ass poo, jus rent the goonies instead, and andrew patricks a pussy 1 stars
8/17/02 Andrew Patrick Spy Kids Is Probably The Best Spy Movie Ever 5 stars
8/17/02 AJ Go in openminded and knowing its a kid's movie.. Overall it rocks 5 stars
8/16/02 scott great but spy kids 2 is better 4 stars
8/11/02 J I use to love it but after that lame "re-release" and better sequel I'm lowering my rating. 4 stars
7/28/02 spencer stupid shit that would never happen no plot 1 stars
6/11/02 qtpie Antonia Banderas was hot in those working glasses 5 stars
3/11/02 Emilia The bad guy is the weirdest..fits the whole movie 4 stars
1/20/02 Andrew Carden Uncomfortable and Uneven Kiddie Flick. 2 stars
12/26/01 Phil M. Afficianado Very cool. An eyefull of color and activity and imagination. Good spirited, too. Fun. 5 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat Some of the stuff is so cool, it makes me jealous because I don't have it. 5 stars
9/25/01 INCUBATOR Not funny, no nothing.....real piece of crap 1 stars
8/10/01 Jessel GREAT flick for the kids who will love it. Banderas is excellent, disliked only by skanks 4 stars
7/17/01 cheryl hated spy kids HATED antonio banderas - a greasy wetback with a lisp. 1 stars
6/22/01 sumair adfd 4 stars
5/20/01 Billy Blah at best 1 stars
5/10/01 Annie Tangalin It's alot funnier than any comedy show I've seen!!! 5 stars
4/21/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Funnier than 8-out-of-10 gross-out comedies you'll see this year...I'm serious... 4 stars
4/20/01 Stephen Booth Appeals on many levels, not to saccerine but sweet enough not to scare the kids. 4 stars
4/17/01 gloria fantastic movie for adults and kids. 5 stars
4/17/01 JustJeff I liked "Play It to the Bone" better - too bad Antonio did whup on the brats in this flick. 1 stars
4/16/01 Rampage perfect for the entire family, Banderas was great 5 stars
4/09/01 The Bomb 69 very entertaining, kids, parents, and grandparents will all love it 5 stars
4/02/01 Danny Del Rossi Not since 'The Princess Bride' have I seen a movie with such multi-generational appeal. 5 stars
4/02/01 orpy Excellent, better than Crouching Tiger! 5 stars
4/01/01 Kevin Neece This film was funny 5 stars
3/31/01 B Monday Most entertaining blast of the past several years! Alexa Vega was terrific in her 1st role 5 stars
3/27/01 film fan Fun! 5 stars
3/25/01 JF Great movie with awesome special effects and characters! 5 stars
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  30-Mar-2001 (PG)


  20-Sep-2001 (PG)

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