Picks and Pans Review: Agent Cody Banks: Destination London

updated 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Hannah Spearritt

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The span between late adolescence and adulthood is a narrow bridge made of rope, and it swings and sways as yet another poor kid makes his or her way across. This is one angle for getting a fix on Muniz's weird, tense performance in his second go-round as high school student and CIA operative Banks. Muniz's shoulder-shrugging wiriness conveyed an I'm-just-a-kid lack of pretension in the first Cody Banks. But at this stage of his life—he turned 18 in December—he looks like an office intern staving off a panic attack.

This sequel has less Mission: Impossible hardware than the original and more international-thriller intrigue (and no Angie Harmon in sex-kitten spy outfits). A rogue agent escapes to London with mind-control software that can be downloaded into the molars of world leaders. Going undercover, Cody pretends to be a clarinetist in a student orchestra scheduled to play before the Queen at a world summit. It's pretty bland, regardless of a viewer's age—except for British actress Hannah Spearritt as another band member. She has a cool, breathy voice and a confident presence. But then she's 23 and safely across the bridge. (PG)

FAMILY ACTION COMEDY

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