Review by Tom Gilchrist
Stars Miley Cyrus, Alexis Knapp, Joshua Bowman, Autumn Reeser, Jeremy Piven, Matthew Settle, Megan Park, Eloise Mumford, Kelly Osbourne
Written by Allan Loeb, Steven Pearl
Certification UK 12 | US PG-13
Runtime 94 minutes
Directed by Tom Vaughan
Miley Cyrus – she of the weird hair and strangely deep voice – continues her quest to evolve from a Disney puppet into an actual living actress with this role as Molly, a motorbike-riding, sweary private detective. Recruited by FBI agent Armon (Piven), she must infiltrate the Kappa Kappa something sorority to find out who exactly is planning to kidnap the daughter of a key witness in a trial involving Georgian (not the time period) gangsters. It’s pretty much Never Been Kissed but with more guns.
The opening scene sees us introduced to this badass version of Hannah Montana as she tries to take some incriminating photos of a unfaithful senator. She scales high buildings, says “shit” a lot and the rocks some ju jitsu on him when he corners her. This would all be fine if it weren’t for the fact that, despite her manly voice, Cyrus is pretty unconvincing in the role of action lady. Thankfully, though, that portion of her character gets dialled back a bit as the film gets into the main plot involving her going undercover in college. She still maintains her edgy persona and finds it difficult to adapt to being a normal sorority girl, awkwardly throwing out “totes amazeballs” when she realises she is coming across in a non-ditzy way which might blow her cover.
The first 20 minutes is pretty ropey stuff with Cyrus herself and every situation that crops up feeling unlikely and forced, but once she is in college the film begins to find its feet a little, though it stays very close to your standard high school drama/comedy with your normal rogues gallery of stupid/bitchy/insecure girls. Oh and Kelly Osbourne trying to act. The undercover FBI agent side of things is all very formulaic and attempts at introducing red herrings are very obvious, I had figured out who the bad guy was very early on and this is not because I am a genius, it is because it is pretty obvious.
The dialogue is quite awful throughout and feels as though it was written by the uncool dad of a teen who uses phrases like “totes amazeballs” and “I am the bomb.com” as none of it feels like realistic dialogue for teenage girls while most of the characters are one-dimensional and border on the irritating. This film is very clearly designed as a vehicle for Cyrus and while I wouldn’t say it was a completely terrible piece of cinema, it certainly doesn’t do anything to convince me that she has any real future in acting beyond throw-away fluff and straight-to-DVD Disney films.