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Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011) - Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating


Spy Kids 4
Poster © Dimension Films

Bottom line: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World presents a theatrical 4D experience for kids of a new generation to experience Spy Kids. Some rude humor like potty jokes is present, and very young children may be frightened during a few scenes of peril.

MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor
Guide age recommendation: 6+
Genre: Action/Adventure/Family
Runtime: Approx. 89 minutes
Starring: Jessica Alba, Joel McHale, Jeremy Piven, Ricky Gervais, Alexa Vega, Daryl, Sabara, Rowan Blanchard, Mason Cook
Studio: Dimension Films
Director:Robert Rodriguez
Release Date: August 19, 2011

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World - Overview

If you saw the original Spy Kids, the way this story hooks in is that Marissa Cortez Wilson is aunt to the original spy kids, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara). Having once been a spy just like their father, Marissa is now in retirement and married with two step-children and a baby. Her husband Wilbur (Joel McHale) is the host of a floundering reality TV show about catching spies. He, however, has no idea that his own wife used to be one.

Life is enough of a challenge for Marissa, raising a baby and dealing two step-kids, Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook), one of whom clearly resents her. But, her life gets even more complicated when she is called back into spy action to help take down the maniacal Timekeeper, a bad guy who is frustrated about the way the world has squandered its time and has found a way to steal all the time in the world.

Rebecca and Cecil are no dummies, and when Marissa goes back into spy mode, they are right behind her. With the help of original spy kids Carmen and Juni, the twins get some cool spy gear and suit up to take action. Rebecca's talent for being a trickster and Cecil's puzzle genius come in handy as the two become indispensable in the attempt to stop the Timekeeper. If everyone works together, they may be able to save the world and become closer than ever, but Marissa's secret could still tear the family apart.

Rebecca and Cecil the new Spy KidsPhoto © Dimension Films

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World - Guide Review for Parents

The original Spy Kids got horrible reviews from critics. The acting was mediocre and the bad guys were obscenely cheesy. But, kids loved, and still love, the movie. Spy Kids 4 in 4D (3D movie with Aromascope cards to convey the smell in certain scenes of the movie) is heavy on the gimmickry, but unfortunately, it doesn't do much to make the experience more exciting.

The 3D looks a little wonky in areas, and some of the 3D scenes seem extremely forced. Then there's the new Aromascope card. Kids love scratch-n-sniff, but this one won't wow their senses. It's difficult to differentiate between the smells on the card, and they don't smell enough like the thing they should smell like to add even the least bit to the movie experience.

The action and humor are similar to the original movie, but less original, because the concept has of course been done before. The new spy gadgets are less abundant and less creative. In fact, the movie mostly focuses on Step-mom Marissa and her ridiculous spying while pregnant or with a baby in tow. Overall, the storyline about the importance of not wasting time could have been a cool message to slide into an action movie, but it was also overdone and underwhelming. Kids may like this movie, but only a very narrow age range will love it.

The movie contains some sibling bickering and a few rude words like "butt." Also expect the usual farting and poop jokes thanks to the baby. Some perilous scenes may be frightening to young children.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (Medium): Being a spy action flick, this film contains some fight scenes involving hand-to-hand combat and assorted funky weapons. Although, the most effective weapons in the film seem to involve throw up and poop. Most of the violence is very cartoonish, and no one seems to get injured.
  • Scary Scenes (Medium): Some kids may be frightened during perilous scenes when the spy kids are being chased by bad guys, battling the bad guys or being held against their will. Again, most of the scenes are cartoonish, and even the kids on screen don't ever get all that terrified -- they are busier being excited by using their spy gear.
  • Sex/Nudity (Low): Some women in the movie wear tight-fighting clothing. Marissa and her husband kiss passionately in one scene.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (None)
  • Language (Low): A couple of rude words like "butt-head" are used. The phrase "Oh my God" or variations of the phrase are used a couple of times.
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High): Rebecca is resentful of her step-mother. She plays pranks on her and in one scene calls her selfish. Rebecca and Cecil bicker back and forth, sometimes insulting each other and often competing against each other. The kids disobey their parents and others.
The TimekeeperPhoto © Dimension Films

  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Medium): Rebecca and Cecil's mother passed away, and in a couple of scenes they mention her and remember her. One character feels sad that he was frozen in time and his father died trying to save him. Wilbur is hurt and angry when he finds out Marissa is a spy and didn't tell him.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: spying, time travel, step families, pranks, death of a parent
Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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