Have you ever seen a parody film that wasn’t really intended to be a parody? You know, when a movie seems to borrow from an unlimited source of other movies and lacks any sense of originality? The funny part is when they try to remain their own thing, and expect to be taken seriously. Now throw Miley Cyrus into the mix, and you are unfortunately given a little movie called “So Undercover”.
Miley Cyrus plays a private investigator by the name of Molly who excels in finding cheating husbands and small-time criminals. Working with her is her father Sam (Mike O’Malley). She enjoys her job, but when an FBI agent (Jeremy Piven) shows up, he asks for her help in an extremely delicate case. She must go to a college undercover as a material girl and befriend one of the girls to get close to some kind of illegal operation going down in the school. What happens when she starts falling for one of the guys at the college though? Will her entire operation be tarnished?
If anyone has had the misfortune to see even the trailer to this film, it could easily be misunderstood. What it looks like is that Miley Cyrus is an FBI agent that has to act like a college student. Complete with putting on a costume to assumingly look younger, this already makes no sense and will make people ask if hell froze over. To be fair, she ends up working for the FBI, and the costumes was just to get her to look like one of the girls in her sorority to be easily liked. That being said, it still makes no sense. Who in their right mind is going to believe Miley Cyrus will be working with or for the FBI in any shape or form? Not only that, but the story when it revolves around the FBI is unbelievable and way over-the-top.
Let’s talk about the premise. An FBI agent needs a teen to go to a college to go undercover because they have no available female agents. Okay, let’s go with that for just a second and think for a minute what the FBI investigates. They tend to investigate high profile cases, and there is nothing that shouts out high-profile or importance in this film. Why it isn’t important is because almost immediately after the film explains why she is going there, you completely forget the case. They instead want to focus on comedy and apparently romance. I only bring this up because despite the genre in a movie revolving around the FBI, you still usually feel a sense that the case is important, and that the FBI is actually there, and in this film, you don’t feel like this.
Jeremy Piven plays the FBI agent in this film, and even his role feels nothing like an agent of any government agency, let alone the FBI. He comes in all of the time with a leather jacket and everyday clothes. Does this make him look like a big-shot FBI agent? No it looks like the filmmakers couldn’t afford a simple three-piece suit, and just told him to wear whatever, so he wore whatever he woke up with. You can’t just say you’re FBI, you have to prove it. Imagine there are two kids chasing each other in the backyard with cardboard guns yelling, “I’m a spy!” “No, I’m a spy!”, essentially that is how this film feels like.
When you look past the government aspect to the movie, you have to look at the structure of the rest of the film, which in all honesty feels like a parody. Not a good parody, an example of what makes a parody bad. If you look closely, the main films and TV shows that this movie seems to borrow from, they would be “21 Jump Street”, “Miss Congeniality”, “Veronica Mars”, “Mean Girls”, and every other Miley Cyrus movie ever made. These movies clearly had influence, but it is offensive for the movie to even call itself its own thing, which it really isn’t.
Well, this movie is slightly considered a comedy, and the comedy is terrible. Why? Because the movie as a whole is terrible. There isn't an engaging element in the entire thing. No adults nor kids who are used to Cyrus on the Disney Channel will enjoy it. Why? Because there seems to lack a target audience, it feels like a Disney movie until people start swearing obscenities that simply feels out-of-place. Miley Cyrus was terrible at acting, but you can’t say she didn’t fit the role because the role was terrible in and of itself.
As always, you can decide how you like it for yourself when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Feb. 5!