Saturday, December 19, 2015

'Barely Lethal' Is Enjoyable... Just Barely

After watching its trailer, I immediately knew that Barely Lethal isn’t going to be extraordinary.  It’s an insignificant movie destined to be forgotten.  And yet there was something about it that made me strangely want to see it.  And I did.

Barely Lethal tells the story of Agent 83 (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenage girl raised and trained to be an elite secret agent who goes AWOL so that she can live her dream of being a regular high schooler.  She adopts the identity of Megan Walsh and takes on the role of an exchange student from Canada.  With her understanding of teen culture limited to what she got from reading magazines like Teen World, and watching movies like Mean Girls and TV shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, Megan will discover that wading through the waters of a typical American high school setting is much more treacherous than the world of espionage.

The movie is exactly what was expected – unremarkable, predictable, and dumb.  But recognizing and accepting what it is, and not asking for more, I got to have enjoyment from it.  The script makes fun of teen movie clichés but succumbs to them at the same time.  I find that both a win and a fail – but amusing either way.

Barely Lethal is pretty vapid.  But it has enough to be an entertaining “popcorn flick.”  There are jokes that are genuinely funny, the characters are one-dimensional but likeable, the plot is mediocre but has streaks of wittiness, and the action is satisfactory.

It’s far from being an overlooked movie that needs to be checked out, but it’s definitely one of the better second-rate indie movies of 2015. 

No comments: