Movie Review: Barely Lethal

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Official Tagline: A teenage special ops agent coveting a “normal” adolescence fakes her own death and enrolls in a suburban high school. She quickly learns that surviving the treacherous waters of high school is more challenging than international espionage.

Written by: Kyle Newman
Directed by: John D’Arco

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld , Jessica Alba , Samuel L. Jackson , Sophie Turner , Dove Cameron

Barely Lethal is light hearted, action, comedy; Stranger in a Strange Land story. Haliee Steinfeld stars as Megan Walsh an orphan teen, trained from a young age to be secret agent 83 in the ultra covert Prescott Academy. Megan is the top agent in the shadowy organization, much to the chagrin of her rival, Heather [Sophie Turner]Agent 84 of course. Megan longs for a normal teen life, but everything she knows about normal teen life has come from movies she has secretly watched while on missions. Movies like Mean Girls, Sixteen Candles and Bring it On have given her a distorted view of high school, romance and life in general.

When a botched mission to capture the evil former Prescott Academy Agent 1,Victoria Knox [Jessica Alba],leaves Megan missing in action, her boss Hardman [Samuel L. Jackson] thinks she is dead. Megan uses her spy skills to create a new identity as a Canadian exchange student and arranges to live with a host family, the Larsons, liberal Mrs. Larson, precocious Parker and uptight Liz [Dove Cameron]. Megan’s attempts at a normal life through the mine fields of highschool, first love and assassins provides the laughs and adventure.
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The movie tries to play upon and make fun of the usual conventions of spy films, action movies and of course teen romance movies. Writer Kyle Newman and director John D’Arco succeed to a certain extent and there are some cute and funny scenes in the movie, but I think that if they had went a little further and injected some original jokes and twists , the movie could have been so much better.

The cast does a solid job with the script they had to work with. Hailee Steinfeld and Dove Cameron are both a notch above the material. Jessica Alba seems wasted in her villain role; Sophie Turner doesn’t seem to have much acting range here or in anything else she has been in and no one does a Samuel L. Jackson as well as Samuel L. Jackson.

Barely Lethal is a cute, light weight movie that is entertaining and should score with the young teen target market but older crowds may find it too light and breezy to sustain interest.
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Screen Writer Ink
Fade In Is Just The Beginning

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