Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
|Featuring:||Jessica Alba … Marissa Cortez Wilson
Danny Trejo … Machete
Antonio Banderas … Gregorio Cortez
Alexa Vega … Carmen Cortez
Jeremy Piven … Timekeeper
Daryl Sabara … Juni Cortez
Ricky Gervais … Argonaut (voice)
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“Saving the world is their idea of family time.”
Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba) is a top agent for the OSS, the spy ring first introduced in the original “Spy Kids,” and she is also very much pregnant during her final mission to catch arch enemy and time manipulator Tick Tock (Jeremy Piven).
In fact, no sooner does she catch the bad guy then she has to drive herself to the hospital to give birth. Her husband Wilbur (Joel McHale) and step kids Rebecca (Rowan Banchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook) are there to meet her and know nothing of her real job nor of her decision to retire and raise a family.
One year later, Tick Tock escapes, and worse, he has teamed up with the mysterious Time Keeper who has been stealing the world’s time, thus speeding up time for all of us. Hours are gone in minutes, and as clocks visibly speed up toward “Armageddon,” the OSS enlists Marissa to lead the mission. She is joined by her niece and nephew, the original Spy Kids, now a grown up Carmen and Juni, as well as her step kids who have learned her secret and want to help, before time comes to an end for all of us.
Language: Minor. The only mention of God’s name is once when Marissa is going into labor and cries, “Oh God.” Wilbur mutters, “Jeez” under his breath, but it’s almost inaudible. During a transport scene, Rebecca’s head is temporarily transposed on Cecil’s backside, and he calls her a butt head. Carmen, surrounded by bad guys, says her staple, “Shitaki Mushrooms,” in lieu of a curse. In short, besides the expected barbs that brothers and sisters normally call each other, the language was refreshingly tame and family friendly.
Violence: Mild to moderate. However, it should be noted that the violence is more stylized comic action than violent. There are plenty of fighting scenes, but the peril level never seems high. For example, in one scene, Marissa goes into action while holding the baby in a chest hugging baby sling. No moms or babies were harmed during the filming of this picture. The villain’s henchmen carried large blasters that destroy the Wilson house, but the most outrageous scene has to be Cecil throwing bags of his vomit at the henchmen.
Sex/Nudity: None. There wasn’t even sexual innuendo, as is often heard in many family films.
Male/Female Role Modeling: There is nothing objectionable in having a strong female character, but it does seem commonplace to contrast one by a weaker and often oblivious male, as is the case here with Marissa’s husband Wilbur. His profession as TV’s “Spy Hunter” makes his prowess as one even more diminished, considering he married a spy and has never discovered it. Marissa is clearly seen as the attentive mom, while he is usually absent at work. During one odd scene, the villain Tick Tock tip toes rather effeminately, not to mention the fact that his voice is also a shrill, high pitched un-manly caricature.
When Marissa first retires she tells her boss that she isn’t going to tell her family that she was a spy. He tries unsuccessfully to convict her against this by saying, “Life is too short for secrets.”
At one point a character observes that, “Adults over think things. To a kid, nothing is impossible.” This reminded me how, as adults, it’s our natural tendency to believe our reasoning is all we need to rely on, thereby limiting the miracles that can be ours, if we only approach God with a child like faith and just believe!
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” —Matthew 19:14.
The Time Keeper ends up being a tragic figure, motivated by a single goal and spent his whole life pursuing it. Our Lord Jesus tells us there is only one treasure that we should seek with such fervor.
“Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World in 4D” is a kids’ movie all the way and much of the adult appeal, very present in the exceptional first “Spy Kids” movie, has unfortunately lessened with each sequel. Similar to “Spy Kids 3,” the film makes high use of 3D effects with “in your face” action plus the added use of a scratch card for “Aroma-Scope” effects. This delighted the half of the kids able to make the card work, but seemed a distracting gimmick. Positive messages throughout make “Spy Kids 4” a family friendly film, but you’ll wish the kids could have seen this without you.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.