Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

Bomb Rating: 

After watching "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams" I had that same feeling I get after finding a breath mint on the floor of a public restroom. It's kind of hard to explain, but it's almost a state-of-being. It's that unnerving precipice between antiseptic and dirty as the pleasant taste of the breath mint slowly gives way to whatever it's been steeping in all day.

"Spy Kids 2" is clean and sterile, but in that "Blue Velvet" kind of way that makes you wonder what kind of disturbance is lurking just beneath the surface. For instance, how old is Alexa Vega, the girl who plays Carmen Cortez, one half of the sister-brother duo that forms the spy kids? I'll guess 12. As far as exploitation goes, that's apparently the age of consent because Director Robert Rodriguez features her in tight little outfits that would make John Ramsey blush. You know there's a serious problem with a kids' film when the fathers actually want to go back a second time.

There's no such problem with Juni (Daryl Sabara). I guess Rodriguez was unable to fit him with the right codpiece, so he's relegated to the role of "dweeb." The story revolves around the new head of the spy network, Donnagon (Mike Judge), conspiring to steal a powerful technology that can shut down all electronics. Carmen and Juni track the thing to a mysterious island where they find Romero (Steve Buscemi) and a lot of weird animals. Hot in pursuit are their parents, Ingrid (Carla Gugino) and Gregorio (Antonio), and grandparents (Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor). There are also some other kid agents, Gary Giggles (Matthew O'Leary) and Gerti Giggles (Emily Osment), who are in competition with Carmen and Juni.

As if Carmen's inappropriate outfits weren't disturbing enough, watching Steve Buscemi in a kids' movie gave me a bumper crop of the willies. I had a sneaking suspicion I was watching a parole violation in progress. Fact is, there's something pervasively, unnervingly wrong about everything in "Spy Kids 2."

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