So Undercover

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
So Undercover Movie Poster Image
Miley Cyrus stars in this forgettable dud of a campus comedy
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This isn't exactly a movie with heavy-hitting messages, but through Molly's adventure, viewers may catch on to the idea that people are more than they seem at first (like the fact that she realizes sorority sisters aren't all superficial and stupid), and that teamwork makes difficult tasks much easier than attempting to do everything by yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Molly is a devoted daughter with a close relationship with her father, an observant private investigator, and an intelligent student. She encourages her sorority sisters to see past each other's faults and to work together to help a sister in need.


An angry girlfriend pours punch on top of her philandering boyfriend. Molly punches a guy and ties him up, and she's later involved in a car chase and a fight at gun-point to free a friend from being taken hostage. Pepper spray is used to immobilize a man, and a car blows up but doesn't injure anyone. No one dies, and no one is seriously hurt.


There's some kissing (between the protagonist and her love interest as well as other couples). There are references to sexual relationships, infidelity (Molly and her father track suspected cheaters for a living), some skimpy outfits (the sorority sisters fundraise by wearing teeny tiny bikinis during car washes), etc. There's also one joke involving a young woman's "personal massager," which is obviously a vibrator (although that word is never said).


There is "s--t," "bulls--t," "assh--e," and a couple of religious exclamations like "Jesus!" and "holy s--t!"


Maybelline, Max Factor, LL Bean, Apple, Volkswagen, and other brands are mentioned or featured in the movie.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

College students -- most of whom are underage -- drink and play drinking games at fraternity/sorority parties. While it's not a substance abuse problem, Molly's father has a gambling addiction that costs their family thousands of dollars.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfveliz97 April 18, 2020

i def wouldnt show this to kids ???

It is miley cyrus so it naturally pulls kids in but the language in this is definitelly not for kids?? It feels like they meant to target late teens but they fa... Continue reading
Adult Written bybbbbbbbbnm March 13, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written byVenusPM February 6, 2020
Kid, 10 years old May 5, 2018


I think that this is a good movie for A little bit more mature kids It does have things only some kids can understand there is a little bit of cussing and a... Continue reading

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?

  • Miley Cyrus has yet to make a movie as big as The Last Song, which came out in 2010; do you think she will make an acting comeback?

  • 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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love teen movies

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate