Whether he’s indulging his inner adolescent gore-hound in grindhouse fare like Machete
or his inner pre-teen nerd in children’s flicks, Robert Rodriguez’s childlike exuberance bursts through every frame of his films. That joyousness pervades the latest entry in the director’s Spy Kids
series, which has lain dormant for eight years but re-emerges here with a mostly revamped cast. Jessica Alba plays a retired spook whose stepchildren (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook) resent her presence until they all become involved in a mission to save the world from a bad guy who’s literally stealing time (Jeremy Piven). There’s a heavy-handed-but-heartwarming message about making time for loved ones, the new Spy Kids are suitably cute and Rodriguez keeps the action and fart jokes coming at an entertaining clip.