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Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

Movies | Despite the bells and whistles, the film takes time to touch on familiar family challenges

Issue: "Remembering 9/11," Sept. 10, 2011

Fun, fast-paced, a bit absurd, but filled with engaging family dynamics, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World proves to be a delightful reboot to the Spy Kids franchise.

Super spy Marissa Wilson (Jessica Alba) retires from her dangerous career after capturing the evil Tick Tock (Jeremy Piven), giving birth the same day to her baby daughter, her first child with husband Wilbur (Joel McHale).

Neither her husband nor her two step-children, Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook), are aware of her spy career, which is just the way Marissa wants it. Content to be a wife and mother, Marissa finds herself called back into action a year later when Tick Tock reappears and the mysterious Timekeeper starts wreaking havoc by speeding up time. Along the way, her whole family gets involved in the case, as do former spy kids, now young adults Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara).

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Often amusing, sometimes silly, the film (rated PG for mild action and rude humor) never takes itself too seriously. And not content with the virtually ubiquitous 3-D format, the 4-D Spy Kids is also shown with "Aroma-Scope," which consists of a card the viewer gets that contains eight different scratch-and-sniff circles to scratch when the appropriate circle number appears on the screen. Be advised that some of those smells are not pleasant.

Despite the bells and whistles, the film takes time to touch on familiar family challenges, such as Wilbur's pledge to spend more time with his children once he fulfills his five-year career plan, even though they will barely be children by the time he does so. Marissa also works through difficulty bonding with her stepchildren, particularly Rebecca, who misses her real mother (the film implies that she's dead) and is reluctant to accept her stepmother.

For fun-filled, though largely forgettable, family entertainment, viewers could do worse than Spy Kids: All the Time in the World.

Michael Leaser
Michael Leaser

Michael is editor of FilmGrace and an associate of The Clapham Group.

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