Fluff and silliness – not to mention a cute leading man, is something this wannabe Miss Congeniality comedy has in spades. On So Undercover, somehow it works.
So Undercover (2011) Film Review
Raised by her widowed father (and an entire police precinct), Molly (Miley Cyrus) is one tough girl. She is currently her father’s “right hand man” in their private investigation work, and she doesn’t shy away from intimidation. Her work catches the eye of the FBI who offers her an undercover assignment protecting a sorority college student whose father will testify against a former mob boss. The FBI believes that Alex (Lauren McKnight) may have the evidence they need to make their case, and with her life potentially in danger, they need someone who can blend in.
Enter Molly – or Brooke Stonebridge as she becomes, complete with a makeover and a new vocabulary arranged by her FBI contact (Jeremy Piven). At college, Molly struggles to blend in with her sorority sisters, but her objective is to make sure Lauren remains safe, no matter who betrays her along the way.
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Movies set in the college scene are usually painfully juvenile and this film is no more original. (Really!? The FBI is going to recruit a girl who chases cheating husbands? Yeah.) Nonetheless it is quite humorous with a lead character that’s more mature than some. She’s an interesting mix of awkward and savvy investigator, all things that make her endearing. She takes no flak from her FBI contact nor is she intimated by her peers. What makes the movie so amusing is Molly’s antics and “real” humor admitting to them she is at college at the behest of the FBI or her no-nonsense attitude about sleeping with a gun under her pillow. The script has some good things going for it, like letting humor drive things.
Miley is plays this character well, keeping the audience interested in her methods and amusing antics. Also standing out in the cast is the cute Josh Bowman who has name recognition from ABC’s soapy drama, Revenge. Pulling from the classic Miss Congeniality, there is a certain amount of déjà vu. Much of the movie relies on the popularity of its star, and for the role as well as the film’s status; she is incidentally the reason it works so well. Implausible as this story is, the ending ties everything together more realistically than the viewer may suppose which does not cover for the plot threads that never fully explain everything.
If you don’t mind some silly shenanigans, cliché characters or cast members barely passing as college students, then this is a fun night-in movie. It’s not entertainment at its best but does take me by surprise being respectable in places most movies would jump at the chance to exploit, plus it made me laugh – and right or wrong, most of the time, that’s all I require from cinematic entertainment.
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Content: there is a drunken college party scene with bikini clad girls and lots of making out. One scene pans a room full of college girls in their underwear as they get ready for a traditional ritual. As a means of distraction, Molly takes a man to her bedroom under the pretense of having sex before cuffing him to a pole and taking off. Molly’s P.I. cases involve cheating spouses [she catches a robe clad senator in a hotel room with his mistress] and later she discovers a friend’s boyfriend is cheating. The movie is PG13.