We Wish We Didn't Have Time to See It

Movie Review: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (2011)
Summary: A retired spy is called back into action as she tries to bond with her step-children and invites them along to stop the evil Timekeeper.
Spoilers: none

This fourth movie in the Spy Kids series, which began in 2001, is an action/adventure made for kids and can only be called a miss-the-boat endeavor, as it gets things wrong from the word “go.”

Though Alexa Vega does revise her role as “Carmen Cortez,” we won’t find Antonio Banderas or Carla Gugino in this sequel, where undercover spy “Marissa Wilson” (Jessica Alba) is hiding from her Hollywood star husband “Wilbur” (Joel McHale) and step-kids “Rebecca” (Rowan Blanchard) and “Cecil” (Mason Cook) her true identity and secret life.

Wilbur is a spy hunter in a TV series, but has no idea he’s living with a real one. Rebecca is a relentless prankster who only gets along with her brother when they agree on not connecting with their odd-one-out step-mom.

With a new baby on the way, Marissa must find the time to retire and be a stay-at-home mom to welcome the newcomer to the family while trying to build a relationship with her emotionally distant step-kids. But a smooth move to retirement won’t be an easy thing when she has invested so much of her life to stop, “The Time Keeper” (Jeremy Piven), an obsessive mad scientist who seeks to put all of time under his control.

This afterschool special-style film falls way, way short, not only in what it aims to do, but in the fact that it manages to insult the intelligence of kids and adults alike. The script’s lack of respect for its audience is made plain in its overused puns, flatulence gags, and cartoon-ish execution of themes and behaviors that can make the worst of Cartoon Network time-filler junk programs look respectable.

In vivid 3D and with a remarkably lavish budget, the affects are touched up further with Aroma-scope cards (scratch and sniff cards) given out to kids in the audience and referred to numerically onscreen, but I find it hard to believe that too many kids are going to get into anything that this ridiculous movie throws at them.

True enough that the film aims well to instill family values and teach that time is a precious commodity and should be used to the fullest, but this doesn’t make it a good movie in the least. 1 and ½ stars for the dumpy and dumb, Spy Kids.


Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: PG (for mild suggestive language)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: “Marissa Wilson” (Jessica Alba), “Wilbur Wilson” (Joel McHale), “Rebecca Wilson” (Rowan Blanchard), “Cecil Wilson” (Mason Cook), “Danger D’Amo” / “Tick Tock” / “Time Keeper” (Jeremy Piven), “Carmen Cortez” (Alexa Vega), “Juni Cortez” (Daryl Sabara ), “Uncle Machete” (Danny Trejo)
Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy / Family / Sci-Fi