A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Miley Cyrus stars in this straight-to-DVD college comedy that may appeal to the singer-actress' former Hannah Montana fans. There are several references to sexual relationships, adultery (Cyrus's character is a private investigator), and strong language (mostly "s--t" and "ass"). The sorority sisters drink, talk about their boyfriends, and even their "personal massagers." Meanwhile, the protagonist learns that people can surprise you and that "sisterhood" is a powerful force.
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What's the story?
Molly (Miley Cyrus) is a mature teen who works with her ex-cop dad (Mike O'Malley) as a successful private investigator specializing in adultery cases. Out of the blue, an FBI Agent (Jeremy Piven) recruits her to pose as a transferring sorority sister at a New Orleans college in order to cozy up to Alex (Lauren McKnight), a potential witness in an important Russian mafia investigation. Molly is supposed to convince Alex to turn over critical evidence, but first she has to convincingly play the part of a sorority girl -- a tough act made even more difficult when she starts falling for Nicholas (Joshua Bowman), who may or may not be involved in the case.
Is it any good?
So Undercover hinges on the very limited acting talents of Cyrus, who has proven once again (as with LOL) that she's not ready or able to carry a movie. Scottish director Tom Vaughan has made four very different movies -- from the weepy sick-kid drama Extreme Measures to the outlandish romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas -- and So Undercover had the potential of living up to his entertaining debut feature, Starter for 10, which also followed an eccentric group of college kids. But that campus comedy starred a young James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dominic Cooper and Alice Eve.
It's not that Cyrus is the only weak link in the story: the plot is predictable, the characterizations either flat or completely unbelievable (one co-ed is a chemistry major but doesn't know the definition of some basic words), and even the "twist" can be deciphered halfway through the movie. Piven and O'Malley are wasted in the film, so it's no real loss that they phone in their performances. Bowman, who stars on ABC's primetime soap Revenge, is handsome enough, but the romance between he and Cyrus is forced. The only redeeming aspect of the movie is the tender and close relationship between Molly and her father -- but that gets overwhelmed by the SO, like, ridiculous depiction of college life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way Molly pretends to be dumb in order to fit in with her sorority. What does she discover about her sorority sisters? Are they as airheadish as they seem at first?
There are a lot of movies about young agents and spies. How does this one compare?
What do you think of the movie's depiction of college life? What stereotypes does it promote?
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