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Spy Kids

The following review contains detailed descriptions of graphic non-violence. Reader is advised to proceed with caution.

Were I a strapping young lad of 10, I would have just seen the perfect movie.

Alas, I am a few years older than that prime age, so instead I saw an amusing family adventure that dares to bring joy, action and wonder to the movie screen without dipping numerous body parts in bubbling vats of human blood.

The triumphant film in question is none other than Spy Kids, the action-packed thriller with absolutely zero scenes featuring dismemberment or decapitations.

Spy Kids is written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, of the ultra-violent El Mariachi, the ultra-violent El Mariachi remake Desperado and the uberly-ultra-violent vampire/hooker classic From Dusk Till Dawn. Spy Kids is created in much the same spirit as these pervious Rodriguez films, except that it stars a bunch of kids who don't become chopped into tiny pieces of flesh and there aren't any half-naked women flashing their breasts at the screen.

Spy Kids is a neat flick. It is thrilling, exciting, adventurous, warm and silly. Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino are two former secret agents who have married and left the profession. When they are kidnapped by the deranged host of a slightly disturbing children's show, their two children are finally told about their parent's true past and are pressed into action.

Like any Bond flick worth its weight in sexual innuendo, there are glorious gizmos galore. However, instead of a laser pen that can slice an earlobe in half or an explosive bra that can completely disintegrate perfect breasts after completely exposing them to the camera, the gadgets in Spy Kids tend to involve things like chewing gum.

OK, there are some plots holes a mile wide and some minor continuity problems and what not, but the fact of the matter is...this flick is cool. Parents across the land can thank Mr. Rodriguez for making a film they can take their kids to which doesn't star a piece of animation. Why on Earth the man behind From Dusk Till Dawn, a film which literally features exploding people, would shift gears and give us a movie whose most grotesque moment may well be when a character wraps band-aids over some warts on his fingers is beyond me. We can only sit back and enjoy the result.

This is the kind of movie that Senator Lieberman hopes Hollywood can continue to make. The whirling blades of a ceiling fan don't slice off a man's fingers at the nubs and squirt blood all over the horror-stricken faces of those around him- instead, they give him a bruise. Here, having your head set on fire doesn't mean you become a disfigured monster of blistered flesh- it just means you're having a bad hair day.

And yet, the movie isn't lame.

What also makes this movie extra-nifty is the fact that it's so imaginative. We've never seen this stuff before. Everything is colorful and entertaining and unexpected. Ya gotta love it.

Plus it's got Tony Shalhoub! How cool is that!

OK, I need to temper my enthusiasm lest it cause my body to jerk violently as though I were having some kind of seizure that was causing my brain to slowly ooze out my ear. This isn't the perfect movie, but when you compare it Freddy Got Fingered or Driven or Joe Dirt or a number of other ill-advised escapades, it kicks some serious buttocks.

I'm giving Spy Kids 3 2/3 enthusiastic Babylons. The score rises as your age lowers, to the point where this is the absolute perfect movie to bring a fetus.

Editor's Note:

I had a hard time editing this--at one point I had to read an entire paragraph OUT LOUD to fully comprehend what the SMC was trying to say. I got tired. I left things in like "...bubbling vats of human flesh." You guys understand that it's not the VATS that are bubbling, right?

Spy Kids
Rated: PG
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Mike Judge, Robert Patrick and one Cameo from a Major Hollywood Star who need not be named at this time. No, I won't give you a hint. Nope. Uh-uh. No, quit asking. Did you notice Mike Judge? The creator of Beavis and Butthead? Don't bother looking, I didn't recognize him either. Will you stop bugging me about the cameo? I'm not telling! It's a cameo, it's supposed to be a surprise! Like when Sean Connery showed up at the end of Robin Hood: Price of Thieves. Oh, you didn't know that? Didn't stick around for the end, eh? Don't blame you, but he's in it. And no, Sean's not the cameo in this flick. Man, you're persistent. OK fine, it's George Clooney! Happy? Leave me alone!

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