Film review: Spy Kids 4 - for 'toddlers' only

The message of the film, however, is jolly but a message that does not ride on a good film, usually falls flat.

Ians August 25, 2011

Hollywood usually leaves no stone unturned to ensure the success of a film. Thus, while "Spy Kids 3" was 3D at a time when 3D was not what it is today, "Spy Kids 4" is touted as a 4D film. But despite this, it is a film that holds no water.

Marissa (Jessica Alba) is cool enough to kick a master criminal's butt even when she is pregnant. She, however, does not reveal her identity of a spy to her husband and her pesky stepkids. But after the evil Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) begins to steal time and neutralizes everyone who can stop him, it is left to the kids to save the day.

"Spy Kids 4" is a perfect film -- for toddlers. It is loud, in your face, predictable, full of action that does not add up and is populated by caricatured characters. That's perfect recipe for a kiddie film. And in that sense, it also ends up being cute.

However, if you bring in any other audience, the film starts getting really annoying.

The studio executives obviously had to resort to something unique to drag the people into the theatres. And that unique thing purportedly is a 4th dimension, which, as you'll discover, is nothing but the smell of bubble gum.

The ticket of the film comes with a big card that has numbers in it. Every time a number appears on the screen, one has to scratch the corresponding number in the card and some smell, corresponding to that scene, is supposed to be released. Sadly, all the eight numbers in the card have only one smell - bubble gum.

The 4th dimension of the film is thus nothing else but annoyance. Consider a dark theatre, heavy 3D glasses over your eyes and amidst these, of scratching a particular number in the card for you to be able to smell nothing but bubble gum every time.

Just like the film, the 4th dimension does not work. Which, in a way, is a blessing in disguise. After all, why would the audience want to smell fart? The producers' lack of attention competes only with Robert Rodriguez's lack of directorial attention.

The message of the film, however, is jolly -- spend time with things that matter, like family, before you're left with no time in the world. But a message that does not ride on a good film, usually falls flat.