So…anyway, Denise and I saw this, like, Blu-ray movie. I think it was called “So Undercover” and OMG it had Miley Cyrus in it and…oh, did you see Jimmy and that girl at the mall, like, he was all OVER her…anyway, so Miley plays this totally tough private eye with a gun and a motorcycle and everything, and you know, that guy from Entourage–whatever THAT is that Jimmy keeps talking about—he’s like a police guy or something, and he gets her to join a sorority to protect this other, like, daughter of some Mafia guy from Georgia or Atlanta or something who has to, like, talk in court or something about some other big crime guy…. Jimmy says he wasn’t there, at the mall, but you know, LOL that is SUCH a lie…anyway, there’s this hot dude she falls for and she does college stuff, like the stuff we saw on MTV only not as drunk, you know? And I think she gets the bad guy at the end or something, I’m not sure, I was texting Jimmy the last half hour….
Uh, yeah, we get the point, Stacy. “So Undercover” is the next installment in the signs-of-the-apocalypse grand design to move the former Hannah Montana into the world of real adults who make real movies. Good and bad, this is pretty much everything you could expect from a film that features Cyrus as a tough private eye going undercover at a college, Jeremy Piven as her FBI handler, and a sorority house setting.
In a plot thinner than a layer of purple passion lip gloss, Cyrus seems to have some fun playing pretend as gun-toting private eye Molly. And to their credit, no one else involved in this exercise seems to be taking it too seriously. There are half-hearted stabs at a ‘real’ movie (Molly’s father is a disgraced police officer with a gambling problem, the whole sisterhood thing) but these are after-thoughts at best.
To up the ‘adult ‘quotient,’ the humor is a weirdly calculated mix of Disney Channel one-liners, throwaway pop culture references, and smut-lite outtakes from an MTV knock-off. Was that a…vibrator joke I just heard? Yes…yes, it was. Calculated for both Cyrus’ core fan base but with that ‘real adult’ world in mind, it’s bumpy and irritating, the humor equivalent of razor stubble. It doesn’t work for either crowd, and at times is genuinely painful for anyone over the age of 14. But some younger types might find it amusing.
With the parties and the fistfights and the kissing, the whole thing is what I imagine a tween imagines sorority life and private eyes to be, if she’s read enough issues of Seventeen magazine and watched too much USA Network. The formula at work seems to have been a fearless denial of plausibility, plus a willful lack of originality, divided by Jeremy Piven, times Miley in skirts so short they should have a lapel.
About 45 minutes in, I had the thought that what this movie was missing was a Baldwin brother. One of the lesser ones, not Alec. Stephen, I think, would fit right in. It’s that kind of movie. “So Undercover” won’t convert any new fans, and if the youngest Cyrus fan in your household insists on viewing this harmless, vacuum sandwich, consider yourself forewarned.
“So Undercover” is presented in letterboxed 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The picture is perfectly adequate and unremarkable. Visually, the sorority carwash sequence will probably stand out. There are English SDH and Spanish subtitles. “Donde estan los guapos, mi hermana?”
There are two audio tracks in the set-up menu, one English 5.1 Dolby True HD and the other English stereo 2.0. The mix is uneven, with party scenes loud and bumping, and dialogue sometimes so soft as to be almost inaudible.
As an indicator of both the target audience and the level of filmmaking on hand, there are no extras. None. Not even a trailer.
So underwater, so underwhelming, insert your own title joke here. “So Undercover” hits all the expected beats but not with a very effective stick. Young Miley Cyrus fans might enjoy this formulaic mix of private eye hokum and sorority sister fluff, but anyone over the age of 12 should steer well clear.