The fourth movie in the Spy Kids series revolves around Marissa Wilson (Jessica Alba), a former OSS (Office of Strategic Services) spy, and her life since leaving the American intelligence agency. For the past few years, Marissa has spent most of her time caring for her baby daughter (Belle Solorzano). She also looks after Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook), who are older children from her husband Wilbur’s (Joel McHale) previous marriage. Marissa tries really hard, but Rebecca keeps reminding her that she’ll never measure up to Rebecca’s dead biological mother.
Marissa’s life changes when she’s unexpectedly called back to work as a spy. Danger D’Amo (Jeremy Piven), head of the OSS, asks her to find and stop the evil genius known as the ‘Timekeeper’ (also played by Jeremy Piven). This villain and his sidekick, ‘Tick Tock’, are plotting to end the world by changing the passage of time. When Marissa gets back to the OSS, she teams up with the original Spy Kids operatives, Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) and her brother Juni (Daryl Sabara).
At first, Marissa hopes to keep her OSS involvement secret from her family, who have no idea about her past life as a spy. But her mission becomes more complicated when the Timekeeper’s henchmen threaten Rebecca and Cecil. Marissa is then forced to reveal her real identity to the children and, finally, to her husband. As events move towards a final battle, the entire family – including their dog, Argonaut (voiced by Ricky Gervais) – is drawn into her quest to stop the Timekeeper.
Family relationship problems; espionage; Armageddon
This movie includes repeated physical violence. Some of it is directed at and done by the children. For example:
- Men dressed in combat gear and carrying large weapons chase, surround and threaten Rebecca and Cecil. Such scenes happen often throughout the movie.
- Rebecca and Cecil fight, punching and slapping each other.
- Rebecca uses a laser-like whip to slash at Timekeeper henchmen. She knocks several over, while others are caught up in the end of the whip and jerked metres into the air.
- Cecil punches several Timekeeper henchmen unconscious while wearing ‘spy gloves’.
- Cecil throws a bag of vomit at Timekeeper henchmen during a mid-air chase. This results in one man slamming head-first into a large metal pole and falling, apparently to his death.
- Both Carmen and Wilbur punch several Timekeeper henchmen.
- The spy baby knocks one of the Timekeeper’s henchmen unconscious by throwing him over her head in a martial arts-style move.
- Marissa does some violent things when she’s in the final stage of her pregnancy and after her baby daughter is born. In the movie’s opening scenes, for example, Marissa starts labour contractions and is then involved in a series of fight sequences with the Timekeeper’s henchmen. Later, Marissa faces a similar circle of henchmen while the baby’s strapped to her chest.
There’s also some verbal violence and verbal descriptions of violence in the movie. For example:
- Rebecca argues with and insults Marissa.
- Carmen and Juni argue heatedly.
- Cecil talks about some bullying at his school.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has several scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:
- Tick Tock almost always appears with infrared goggles over his eyes. Although he has a large, masculine body shape, he speaks with a woman’s voice.
- The Timekeeper’s head isn’t human. Rather, it looks like a distorted mantlepiece clock. He speaks in a low, menacing growl. Later, he rips off his clock head to show his true identity.
- The Timekeeper stands on a time-machine platform and then disappears in a haze of smoke. Seconds later, he reappears in another burst of smoke, but this time he’s an old man.
- The Timekeeper’s henchmen often burst into rooms with their combat gear on and infrared goggles covering their eyes. This makes them look non-human.
- Many scenes show giant spinning cogs, which slice through the air past various characters.
- Argonaut the dog suddenly begins speaking. This is supposed to startle us.
- Cecil pulls off one of Argonaut’s paws to reveal a bionic-style stump. Later, Argonaut appears to be cut into several pieces, but then almost magically puts himself back together again.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- Marissa, Carmen and Juni begin sinking in quicksand.
- Rebecca and Cecil are transported in high-speed flying capsules, which dart at great height between buildings.
- Rebecca and Cecil stand on a time-machine platform, which shakes them violently and surrounds them with coloured clouds of dust and atomic particles.
- Rebecca and Cecil are frozen in time. This means they’re paralysed for a little while. Later, many other characters also get frozen in time.
- Rebecca and Cecil stand on a platform that unexpectedly drops hundreds of metres. It looks like they might die.
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has at least one scene that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, a computerised voice tells the children to go and hide in the ‘panic room’.
There are no other scenes in this movie that are likely to scare or disturb children over 13.
There are some mild sexual references in this movie. For example, when Argonaut the dog sees Carmen Cortez for the first time in several years, he says suggestively, ‘Well, hel-lo! You are bigger now’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie doesn’t show any nudity directly, but both Marissa and Carmen often wear very tight, figure-hugging clothes.
The movie doesn’t show any sexual activity directly either. But it does include scenes where Marissa and Wilbur kiss and cuddle. At the end of the movie, they share a long, passionate kiss.
Some products are displayed or used in this movie. They include Apple computers, Mercedes Benz cars and the YouTube website.
Also, characters talk about musician MC Hammer, earlier Spy Kids movies and James Bond movies. There are also many musical references to James Bond movies.
This movie includes some mild coarse and threatening language and several put-downs. In addition, there are several jokes involving wee, poo, farting and vomit.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World is a fast-paced children’s science fiction action movie that uses a range of clever special effects.
Its main message is about the importance of fixing damaged family relationships while you still can. The movie also emphasises that it’s important to balance your life and work commitments to make sure you spend enough time with the people you love. On the other hand, the movie includes lots of violence, which sends the message that the best way to sort out conflict is aggression and force. This negative message undermines the positive ones.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include teamwork, honesty, patience and courage.
This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about the bad things that can happen when you use violence. You could also talk about better ways to sort out problems.