Miss Meadows Review

Posted: November 14, 2014 in Action, Comedy, Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Miss MeadowsKatie Holmes’ third act in a Hollywood life takes a turn for the delicious with her portrayal of the sweetest little serial killer imaginable in Miss Meadows, a new black comedy actioner from director/screenwriter Karen Leigh Hopkins. Anachronistically albeit perfectly dressed in ankle socks and white gloves, Homes tap dances, sings, strolls, hopscotches, and shoots her way to a memorable and satisfying performance as the elementary school teacher with a heart of gold and a silver-plated .25 in her purse.

If she were any more precious, Gollum would steal her and hide her in a cave. Yes, she may be a Pulp Fiction Mary Poppins as one frustrated officer of the law describes her, but, gosh darn it, Miss Meadows is good with the kids, and you couldn’t ask for a better neighbor. Hopkins sets the tone early and exactly with an opening scene that features Holmes walking down a suburban sidewalk on a picture perfect day, reading a book of poetry and exchanging greetings with the tweeting birds in near-by trees. The pervert in the car that stops to harass her never has a chance, and bang, bang, bang, three shots ring out, and we’re off on a great adventure.

Miss Meadows is at its best when the title character is treated as a newly arrived alien. She’s literal to the point of absurdity – ask her what her mother’s like, and she will tell you what her mother likes. Hopkins is not afraid to pause for the extra moment that allows for a comic opportunity to reveal itself. Holmes’ delivery takes care of the rest. She catches the sheriff’s attention (James Badge Dale) for, first, the right, and, then, the wrong reasons, and we see the beauty from another planet learn the ways of love. Sex for Miss Meadows turns out to be the most fun she can have with her clothes on.

Plot? Yeah, we’ve already covered that. Elementary school teacher/ vigilante killer dispenses justice and snacks while bedding and alluding local sheriff. There you go. Yes, we also have the predictable backstory, and a twist that isn’t, but we fortunately skip most of the handwringing about the questionable morality. And bonus – we find out how to get blood out of a silk skirt!

The film slows and suffers when Miss Meadows becomes less extraordinary. The nesting instinct seems to rob her of her edge and her uniqueness, and the movie takes a left turn onto an uninteresting street that we’ve been over so many times before with the arrival of an ex-con in the neighborhood. Full credit to Callan Mulvey, who is disarmingly good as the convicted child abuser, Skylar. Frankly, he might even be too good for this role as his charismatic presence elicits fascination rather than disgust or fear.

We have a jump in time and logic at the the end, but Hopkins does get us where we want to be. As that female empowerment anthem from the early 60’s, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” plays on the soundtrack, and we get one last look at a swishing skirt and ankle socks, the world is once again as it should be. The cherry on top is the musical credit that shows it to be Katie Holmes performing the tune.

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