REVIEW: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (2011)

I’m in a corner of a bar with free Wi-Fi, crying inside with a solitary blank stare, because as punishment for stealing Dave’s cookie at SquabbleBox HQ, I was made to watch Spy Kids 4D. 

There are no words in the English language, hell ANY language that could possibly describe how awful this film is. I just can’t, it’s an unreviewable film. Apologies to those ladies and gentlemen who expect me to go on a two thousand word Kermodian rant, but the fourth entry in Robert Rodriguez’s miniature spy franchise is both depressing and mind-numbingly dumb.

It follows the trend of a lot of children’s films now-a-days. Spy Kids 4D is the filmic equivalent of jingling your keys in front of a child and expecting some sort of amazed response. This movie, and by extension, Rodriguez, believes your offspring is stupid. The movie’s target audience isn’t treated with one ounce of respect, and it goes without saying that it provides no entertainment value for paying adults in the audience. Well, unless you have a fond appreciation for fart jokes.

Do you really need a plot synopsis? Any film that asks viewers to buy Jessica Alba as a world-class spy is pushing it. This is a woman who kept her clothes on while playing a stripper. Needless to say, it involves obnoxious little tykes who save the world via fancy gadgetry and CGI. And somewhere in this mess is Ricky Gervais voicing a robotic dog. Oh, Christ.

Please, film-makers of the world, take some inspiration from family entertainments like Toy Story (any of them), The Goonies, pretty much any classic Disney film, Ghostbusters, The Exorcist… OK, fine, scratch that last one. All I’m saying is that it’s possible to produce a movie that the young ones will enjoy, and still possess some substance for the oldies to appreciate. Most of these films lack pop-culture references and provide what we call in the industry a “timeless” quality. These films also have themes and life-lessons that don’t sugar-coat things, and don’t treat children as if they were born yesterday. Such elements give family films intelligence. They need not be brain-dead, they can (and should) be enjoyed by all ages, whether you’re 5-years-old or a middle-aged philosophy lecturer.

Spy Kids 4D is therefore the perfect exclamation point on a season that also gave us Cars 2 and The Smurfs. Intellect isn’t in their vocabulary; they are just bright, pre-school colouring books with annoying phrases, ceaseless special effects and an over-reliance on toilet humour.

If you are thinking about taking your kids to see this film, don’t! Just, please, don’t. I’m not going to make any jokes here – this is a serious plea from a man who had to sit through a terrible film to save you and your children from going through the same pain.

Oh, and the Aroma-Scope did NOTHING for the most part. It took you out of the film (a good thing?) and repeated smells. Those scratch ‘n’ sniff cards can go back into obscurity.

At least I have learned never to steal Dave’s cookie.

PS: Rodriguez, you officially go into my Book of Shame. I am disappointed with you absolutely and completely. In lieu of a proper review, just watch the theatrical trailer – it tells you everything you need to know.


About Andrew Cooper

Andrew is a screenwriter an freelance journalist. His favourite films range from 'Citizen Kane' all the way to 'Jaws: The Revenge' depending on mood and alcohol consumption. He is a great fan of the video game industry with a wide range of favourites. He also moonlights a s a ninja for hire.
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4 Responses to REVIEW: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (2011)

  1. Tom Penny says:

    Fair play for sitting through the whole thing. you have a commendable tollerance for tripe.

  2. Andrew Cooper says:

    I think I’ve finally recovered thanks to a large dose of ‘Mass Effect’ the best way to describe this film in one sentence is paying for the pleasure of getting your brain raped by a non-intrusive lobotomy.

    Just as a footnote you know? That is all 🙂

  3. Dave James says:

    Agreed. John Waters could shit out a better film.

  4. JunkPix says:

    Scratch and Sniff. The best instance of this was in ‘Polyester’, and John Waters could never be bettered for his efforts.
    Even the posters for this film make me want to ring the NSPCC and report it as cruelty to children. Why do filmakers seem to think anyone below the age off…no actually, anyone is stupid? I think that Hollywood need to realise what an embarassment it is that they take this view. Give the kids Ghibli or Disney old skool anyday!

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