Spy Kids

Rated 4.0 Writer-director Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, From Dusk Till Dawn) is this year’s most unlikely—and most successful—maker of exhilarating family-type entertainment. This sort of Junior James Bond in Toyland stars Antonio Banderas and Spin City’s Carla Gugino as two superspies who trade espionage for parenthood. The couple is kidnapped by a kiddy show host (Alan Cumming) who wants to use the secrets of a “Third Brain” research project to mentally activate an army of child robots. The Cortez kids (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) escape to a safe house and use an arsenal of high-tech gadgetry and vehicles to rescue their folks from the evil techno-wizard and his Thumb Thumbs (freaky goons that have the digit for head and limbs). The message here: it’s easy to be a spy, but tough to keep a family together.