5 May 2015 | billygoat1071
Don't get me wrong, Barely Lethal sounds like a cool idea, setting in an intriguing world where kids are raised to become assassins, and this story also concerns the main character seeking to live as a normal teenager. It's not really the most novel idea, but it could work, if it was smarter or more imaginative, but the result was neither. No matter how charming the tone and the actors are, one can't help that there is still a lot of untouched potentials that may turn this at least a little cult classic or a stronger film. Instead it just follows the clichés which makes it rather forgettable.
This is basically a half quirkier version of an undercover spy movie and half a teen movie. It may not sound so original, but there is some cases that may bring a different approach to this concept. Megan happens to be not fond of her cold-blooded home, apparently because this job was never her thing. She also isn't able to fit in to the ordinary high school life because of her strange and sometimes violent behavior that has grown with her. It talks about how lonely to be a secret agent and also how complicated high school is, but the film hardly explores these conflicts and rather follows the most familiar tropes. And there, the movie almost becomes a total teen comedy in the middle act, where it settles so much in whatever you'll predictably get in this genre. This can be somewhat forgivable if the action movie side is creative or memorable, but it's so underdeveloped, the film doesn't fully acknowledge the consequences the characters will soon be facing, until it actually shows up. There's just not enough enthusiasm involved when it comes to this area of the story.
But then, this is a comedy. Sure, it lightly pokes fun about the kids being trained as killers, Megan's awkwardness in high school, and the parental advice from one of the characters, but that's about it. The humor only works occasionally, some gets a little forced. To be fair, it's all bearable. Mostly thanks by its cast: Hailee Steinfeld helps elevating this rather bland character with a nice amount of likability. She may not convince that she's a highly trained assassin that her behavior has presented, but she still makes for a competent hero for the movie, anyway.
There is a chances that Barely Lethal can be a way better movie than this, by either embracing its larger-than-life world of young killers or work more on its potential themes. But the film decided to choose the less compelling choices. It may have a likable personality that helped made it watchable, but there's nothing else to enjoy in the end. The interesting stuff are underdeveloped and the story relies so much on the clichés. The premise sounds like it's gonna be some cool YA action film, but the only thing it offers is attitude and that's quite obvious for a movie with this title.