When Spy Kids 4's Marissa Wilson (Jessica Alba) has her first baby, she decides to leave her life as a spy behind and focus on her family. But with a pair of step-children Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook) who are not too jazzed about their new mother, her family life is not exactly all she had hoped for. Enter the Timekeeper, a maniacal villain whose objective is to speed up time and destroy the world. When her step-kids accidentally get involved in the scheme, Marissa is forced to jump back into the spy game to try to save her family and the world.
Even with a director as imaginative and talented as Robert Rodridguez, it’s not always easy to bring fresh life into a movie series which ended eight long years ago. And although Spy Kids 4 does have some redundancy from the other films, the storyline is just intriguing enough to keep the dream alive.
Like Rodriguez’ other films, it makes smart and subtle parodies of modern life such as the fact that Marissa (a secret spy) is married to a man who runs a reality TV show called Spy Hunters. It paints a sympathetic picture of its villain who is shown to be more than just a one-dimensional monster. And it brings home a point about the importance of family, living in the moment and truly valuing your time with loved ones—which is more than can be said for most action movies.
The most unique highlight of the film comes on a piece of cardboard which gives the movie its 4th dimension—scratch and sniff—or what Robert Rodridguez likes to call “aromascope.” Rodriguez explains, "Instead of just going 3-D like we did on the last one, we brought in 4-D, which is a very fun gimmick that I found in this old movie in the '80s. It's kind of a scratch-and-sniff [experience] and you get to be really, almost like a video game, interactive with the movie. There are some really surprising smells, and some of the biggest laughs come from that."
Surprising indeed. With the inclusion of dog farts, baby poopsplosions, candy and other interesting smells, this movie definitely makes an interesting olfactory impression. So go and take a whiff of what the latest Spy Kid movie has to offer.