2011 Running time: 89 Certificate: pg Not yet rated

Synopsis

In the fourth instalment of the junior action series, Jessica Alba comes aboard as the former agent-turned-mom who now finds herself looking after a new baby... and reluctant stepkids Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook). However, when the villainous Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) hatches plans to take over the world, she's called back into action alongside original Spy Kids Alexa Varga and Daryl Sabara as well as Ricky Gervais as an animatronic mutt. Day-Glo family action from writer-director Robert Rodriguez.

Director

  • Robert Rodriguez

Cast

  • Jessica Alba

  • Jeremy Piven

  • Joel McHale

  • Rowan Blanchard

  • Mason Cook

Review

Amid the eye-popping action, explosive setpieces and multi-dimensional shenigans in the fourth junior spook outing, one thing stands out - Spy Kids veteran Daryl Sabara has morphed into 70s era Kevin Keegan. With a ginger bubble perm.

He's back as original Spy Kid Juni Cortez - together with his sister Carmen (Vega) - to help out pint-sized newcomers Rebecca (Blanchard) and Cecil (Cook) fight the world domination plans of supervillain The Timekeeper (Piven).

Unknown to them, their stepmother Marissa (Alba) is not just the new mum of their tiddly stepsister but a former OSS spy who has quit the service to settle down and marry struggling TV presenter Wilbur (McHale).

However, with The Timekeeper literally stealing time, she's called out of retirement to battle his plans to wind up the Armageddon plot and dominate the world.

After the dismal Spy Kids 3 (which looked like it was filmed at the bottom of a pond) it would have been hoped that writer-director Rodriguez would return to the form of the splendid first two outings.

Don't get your hopes up. This is a shoddy affair with anodyne first-timers Blanchard and Cook almost as annoying as Ricky Gervais's phoned-in voiceover of an animatronic terrier with a poop obsession.

Alba looks cute in a leather catsuit but the special effects appears cheap and the inclusion of "aromascope" scratch'n'sniff cards at cinemas proves to be a pretty worthless gimmick.

It's about time the Sky Kids were fostered out.

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