Miss Meadows is a good premise executed poorly. It doesn’t seem to have much of an idea about what it wants to be, and therefore can’t explore its strongest ideas as well as it should. Here is a movie that takes a well-mannered school teacher and turns her into a vigilante, yet it really isn’t sure what it wants to do beyond that. Does it want to be a hard-biting satire? A serious character study? Something else? It doesn’t know, and neither do we. It just is what it is, never really doing a whole lot of anything.
The film stars Katie Holmes as the eponymous Miss Meadows. She’s a substitute teacher with impeccable manners. She takes things a bit too literally at times, but other than that is an upstanding member of her community — even though she only stays in one area for a short length of time. The reason? She kills bad guys. She’s got a gun in her purse and if she sees a bad guy, she pulls it out and shoots him. I presume it’s always a him, since we only see it happen a couple of times in the film and it’s always a male.
Our story follows Miss Meadows and her day-to-day life in her new home. She begins dating the town Sheriff (James Badge Dale), targets a new bad guy in Skylar (Callan Mulvey), and teaches a class. She also talks to her mother (Jean Smart), who seems both oblivious and knowing when it comes to her daughter. Yes, somehow it’s both. That’s kind of like how the whole film is, really. It wants to be multiple things and ultimately ends up being nothing.
That doesn’t mean it’s boring, I’ll admit, but it also means it’s mostly unsubstantial. It’s not really about a whole lot, any satirical points it had to make are either lost or diluted in the process. Yeah, it’s kind of fun to see Katie Holmes act both like Mary Poppins and Kick-Ass, but when it’s not done in favor of anything, it’s kind of hard to care. Miss Meadows often seems like it’s just spinning its wheels. And outside of the inherent fun of Holmes getting to sort of play dual roles, there isn’t much here to enjoy.
Kate Holmes is a lot of fun to watch in the lead role. She can play both sinister and sweet, and is good at switching from one to the other at the drop of a hat. It’s fun watching her work, and that’s about the only reason one has to watch Miss Meadows. The rest of it is just … there. It’s not fun to talk about, it’s not interesting to watch, it’s not anything. It’s just kind of fun to watch Katie Holmes play the lead role. Nothing else.
As such, I’m cutting this review short. There’s nothing worse than trying to extend something that is so terribly uninteresting that you’re just repeating yourself over and over, wasting both your time and the time of everyone reading. Miss Meadows isn’t worth watching. Katie Holmes is fun to watch in the lead role, it’s true, but dedicating 90 minutes to watching her as a murderous Merry Poppins simply isn’t worth it. It’s kind of fun for a little while, but outside of that it really isn’t going to feel like it’s worth your time. This is a film that doesn’t quite know what it should be doing, and it most certainly doesn’t utilize the potential that its script had.