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The latest installment in the Spy Kids franchise, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, opened in theaters on Friday. Starring Joel McHale, Jessica Alba and Alexa Vega, the fourth feature — directed by Robert Rodriguez and introducing a fourth sense, smell — isn’t striking a chord with critics.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy summed up the movie in less than 10 words. “Life is too short for Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D,” he writes. He’s not alone. Here are what a few of the critics thought of Rodriguez’s latest project.
The Guardian‘s Cath Clarke wasn’t keen on Rodriguez returning to helm a fourth Spy Kids feature, alluding to the fact that there is no depth beyond the jokes. “Now [Rodriguez’s] back with a fourth, and sadly it’s all fart jokes and smart-alec preteens — the stuff that can make taking kids to the pictures a chore,” Clarke concluded.
The Telegraph took issue with other aspects of the movie. “If the prissy child acting, Jessica Alba’s stepmum-spy and Ricky Gervais as a talking dog weren’t strong enough lures, this trippy and calamitous romp comes garnished with a ‘4D’ scratch-and-sniff card to use when we’re told,” its review states. “Don’t get too excited: All eight aromas appear to be Fruit Gumball.”
The Financial Times‘ Nigel Andrews was succinct: “Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez has mined this mother lode too long.”
The Toronto Sun‘s Lisa Wilton believed the latest “doesn’t quite measure up to the first three” but it doesn’t quite “sully the series. Instead, she says Spy Kids “simply entertains at a basic level without leaving a lasting impression.”
But Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle had a more positive reaction to Spy Kids than some of his counterparts. “Far more coherent than its immediate predecessor, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D benefits greatly from its two likable young leads and some of the series’ wittiest, pun-filled writing,” Savlov writes in his review of the kid movie.
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