All you need to do is watch the first few minutes of Miss Meadows and you would’ve pretty much seen all that there is to see in this film. This cross between a live action Disney princess and a pulp-fiction vigilante plays all its cards in the opening scene and never really offers much further reason for watching. It sounds like a nice premise, but delivers on none of its promises.

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Miss Meadows stars Katie Holmes who attempts to play the over-top, way too friendly and incessantly tap dancing character of Miss Meadows, a kindergarten teacher who seems to be the epitome of the good girl next door. However, she hides a dark secret as a vigilante who can’t stand criminals in society and likes to take justice into her own hands. How she always seems to come into contact with said criminals and weirdos is another cause for concern entirely.

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Miss Meadows has been living in a new suburb for several months, in an attempt to get away from her vigilante past. But even in her new suburb trouble is not far away from her and it’s not long before she gets caught up in a couple of incidents which requires her gun to solve. Along the way she becomes romantically involved with the town sheriff (played by James Badge Dale), which starts to make things increasingly complicated as he starts to suspect her as the person behind all these vigilante shenanigans.

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And that is pretty much all there is to the movie. It tries to build some back story to explain the character’s motivations, but it does little to make you feel for or against her. And that’s one of the problems with the movie, as you really feel nothing for any of the characters. Holmes’ performance comes across as unbelievable from the very beginning. She never convinces as sweet or innocent when she is trying to be, nor does she come across as mean or conflicted when needed – it’s a performance that has very little emotion in it from start to finish. If any emotion is derived from her performance, it’s that of annoyance at her continuous ‘too-da-loos’ that make you wish the movie would just come to an end faster.

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And in the script, written by Karen Leigh Hopkins who also serves as the film’s director, there is just no mystery or tension built at all. You learn who Miss Meadows is as a character in the opening scene and nothing really gets developed from there. The dialogue is rather clumsy and because the intentions of the characters are always so obvious, it makes it almost frustrating to watch. The script would’ve been better off trying to add mystery behind the character as a “did she/didn’t she do it” thriller or added more comedy to change the mood, as it really leaves no reason to continue watching. There are some deep moral issues that could’ve potentially been explored with the script, especially with a character as morally ambiguous as the one which Holmes is trying to portray, but it all falls flat in script, direction and performance.

There is no main antagonist or suspense built into any of the other scenes. The relationship between the lead couple is almost laughable, moves too quickly through major plot points and you have to wonder how silly the sheriff must be to not see who Miss Meadows is this whole time. And even as the movie approaches its closing predictable scenes, you feel absolutely nothing for the characters or any tension whatsoever for what the outcome.

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There are a few scenes which are an attempt to shock you and make you sympathize with the lead character in providing motivation for her actions, but Holmes does such a dead-pan job with her performance, that again, all emotion is missed in the movie.  There is one minor plot twist towards the end of the film, but it is so easily brushed off and never explored that it is almost overlooked and makes no difference in how you view the lead character and her actions.

There is very little to like about the film. The score is largely unnoticeable, but does for the most part set the tone well and there are moments when you really feel for some of the kids in the movie. Outside of that, I can’t find a reason to recommend this film. It’s not engaging and doesn’t really hit any of the genres it is trying to replicate.

Miss Meadows is out now on DVD.

Last Updated: February 11, 2016

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Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I’d rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

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