Movie Review: ‘Barely Lethal’


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My crazy bow wearing, frat boy watching, Jonas obsessed friend told me to watch this movie that features Dove Cameron. I’ve been addicted to Dove Cameron because frankly, she’s queen. She spoke highly of it and I figured I would watch even though she has yet to indulge in “13 Reasons Why,” the masterpiece that is Britney Spear’s “Glory,” and even watching older seasons of Big Brother that I recommended (all of which you can find on this wonderful site). Here’s my review of “Barely Lethal.”

Besides the title that makes it seem like it came off out the adult video clearance section at the last remainder Blockbuster, “Barely Lethal” is a 2015 independent-teen-action comedy-film-spectacular-thing. So many genres put into this 98 minutes films. The movie follows a teenage girl who was raised to become a spy by SAMUEL MOTHERFUCKING L JACKSON. That’s right, Samuel L. Jackson is in this movie. Wanting a normal life, Agent 83 (Hailee Steinfield) fakes her own death during a mission to capture Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba) and goes “undercover” as an exchange student from Canada in order to live the life she always saw in the movies. She soon realizes that it’s not as easy to be in high school like in the movies. But her world gets even hard when Samuel L. Jackson finds out she’s still alive as well as Victoria Knox escapes as is out to kill her.

This movie isn’t as a bad as the title and my opening may seem like. It’s actually a well-crafted movie with lines and acting that actually comes off as witty and funny when needed to, which is most of the movie. The problem with it is the fact that the movie takes itself too seriously in some spots. The movie is sometimes that serious friend that is present in a funny conversation. There are times when it’s trying to be an action movie and then there are times when it’s a teen comedy. They don’t flow into together so well when it goes from action to comedy, it feels a little bit clunky and strange. There are times though that it goes wonderfully.

The cast is also a strange one because you have two big names like Jessica Alba and Samuel L. Jackson with this cast of teenage actors who weren’t very big names at the time of the release. While Jessica does a really great job in the film, Samuel just seems very much out of place. While his lines and how he presents them is funny, it’s almost like he’s just there. Like that awkward uncle. The standout for this film is Dove Cameron. For a Disney star, she swears a lot and her lines are not G rated and it’s amazing. She is just the gift that keeps on giving. She stole the scenes that she was in and really played the role of bitchy/moody teen girl with issues very well. She should have had a much bigger role than what she was given. She was the scene stealer of the movie.

“Barely Lethal” is an extremely enjoyable movie that may have issues with balancing that action and serious tones with the nature of being a teen movie. The cast choices are also very strange but don’t really hurt the movie. If you are a fan of teen movies, then this movie is the one for you. It’s pretty much everything that you would expect from a teen movie. Just lower your expectations if you are looking for an action film.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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