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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Barely Lethal


Barely Lethal had a premise that I found interesting: A top secret government program takes orphans and trains them from the time they're small children to be spies/assassins. Our heroine decides she wants a normal life, so she fakes her own death and enrolls as an exchange student in high school.

Cool, I thought, and even though it was geared to teenagers and was supposed to be a comedy, I thought it would be a fun movie to watch. What I got was an awesome premise that was pretty much wasted. It could have been so much better.

Part of my problem might be my own expectations about what Megan's experience in high school might be. I expected someone who was wise in the ways of the world and far beyond the petty ridiculousness of high school. Spies, even teenage spies, I figured would have some savvy and sophistication. Instead, Megan was a total space case, not even advanced as far as her classmates were in a lot of ways. Disappointing.

Her naivety, I guess, was supposed to be the source of the humor, but it fell flat. This film didn't even handle the teenage part of the plot well. You know the one, where the heroine is lusting after the hot guy and friend zone's the geeky AV guy, only to discover that it's really the AV guy she wants after all. This was one of the plots in the movie, but it was clumsy and I didn't feel it was well-executed.

Barely Lethal wasn't all bad--I actually watched the entire movie, something I don't do with horrible pictures. I like the sub-plot with the exchange family's daughter and how she fell for the boy she should have had zero interest in. I also liked the way Samuel L. Jackson's character came back to help the heroine in the end--even after saying he wouldn't--because he really did form attachments for the students he was teaching.

Unfortunately, the good aspects couldn't overcome a poor script. The humor fell flat, the teenage angst stuff was misplayed, there were plot holes galore, the script seemed to meander, without a cohesive central plot to drive the story, and opportunities that could have improved the storyline were either squandered or ignored.

While I can't recommend the movie, it wasn't a horrible way to spend 90 minutes.
My rating: 1 star

Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind for this review.