I couldn't imagine the great Hollywood agent, Ari Gold, ever advising one of his clients to take a job in a direct-to-video Miley Cyrus movie. I picture him piecing together a stream of poetic cussing at the mere mention of something so ludicrous; which is why I find the idea of Jeremy Piven in a new DTV Miley Cyrus movie so baffling.
'So Undercover' (pronounced so undercover with a silent "like" at the beginning) stars Miley Cyrus as, well, Miley Cyrus. She doesn't know how to act any other way. Sure, the movie tries its hardest to give her a character with depth, but it fails pretty spectacularly.
Cyrus plays Molly. She's a private investigator who helps her father (Mike O'Malley) out on cases of husbands cheating on their wives. The script tries its best to make us think that Molly has a rich and varied background. She can rattle off motorcycle specifications as well as anyone. At no point does it actually seem like she knows what she's talking about. She's just good at memorizing her lines.
Molly finds PI work mostly rewarding, but she wants more. One day she's approached by a FBI agent named Armon (Piven). Armon informs her of one of cinema's oldest tricks. She must go undercover to expose a terrible mafia plot. We've seen this done over and over again. Sometimes it's done well, like in '21 Jump Street,' other times it's done poorly, like in 'So Undercover.'
Armon needs her help. He needs her to infiltrate a college sorority in order to get close to one of the girls in the house. Apparently she is carrying some valuable information which has made her a target. Molly's job is to become accepted by the sorority, undercover the person that isn't who they say they are, and save the day.
We all know how these stories work. Molly, naturally, isn't the sorority type. So her fish-out-of-water hijinks eat up the first 40 minutes of the movie. She learns how to speak like them, which usually means cutting off the last syllable of long words or saying stupid things like "amaze-balls." If one is really serious, "totes amaze-balls" will suffice.
As you can already tell 'So Undercover' is a horrendous ride through 94 minutes of Cyrus face scrunching. All the while you're wondering to yourself, "Is this what the post-'Entourage ' world holds in store for Jeremy Piven? Playing second fiddle to a once-popular teeny-bopper phenomenon in a crappy DTV movie no one will ever see?" Now that's a sad thought.
There's absolutely no reason you should ever seek this movie out. At one point in the movie a frat boy has to explain the meaning of "insipid" to his sorority girlfriend. "Devoid of character!" he shouts. Little did he know he was describing the very movie he was acting in.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a Millennium Entertainment release. It comes on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc, is coded for Region A use, and comes in a standard size keepcase with slipcover.
The 1080p transfer of 'So Undercover' is clean, precise, and full of nice detail. It's a glossy looking DTV movie that doesn't really have that DTV look. You know the look I'm talking about, right? The flat TV-movie look. Somehow, this movie got away with a decent looking HD transfer.
Detail is superbly defined throughout the entire movie. Close ups show Piven's perpetual stubble and the layers upon layers of makeup caked on Cyrus' face. Pinks and purples dominate the candy-colored palette. They're striking and pop off the screen.
Shadows are strong and have nice depth to them. I didn't feel that the black areas appeared flat in any way. There are a few darkly lit scenes that prove to be loaded with detail and crisp edges. I didn't notice any aliasing, banding, or compression issues. The movie might be a giant turd, but at least it's a polished turd.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is also more than you'd expect from a movie of this ilk. The dynamic range of the mix was impressive, especially where the musical soundtrack was concerned. I didn't expect 'So Undercover' to sound as solid as this.
Dialogue is presented as clearly as possible. Cyrus has the frustrating tendency to speak most of her lines through clinched teeth, but it's still fairly easy to hear what she's saying. Ambient sound during raucous frat parties and sorority chant sessions come through the rear channels well.
Sound effects like gunshots and the movie's lone explosion have nice low-end support. Like I mentioned before the music in the movie has a solid foundation. It's piped through the channels delivering an even listening experience. I'm not saying that any of the songs are good – mostly forgettable bubblegum pop music – I'm just saying it sounds decent.
There are no special features included on the disc, save for a few previews for other Millennium Entertainment releases.
I'm at a loss asto who would buy this movie. I don't think Cyrus' fan base would really be interested in a heroine undercover comedy, and I don't think the crowd missing 'Entourage' really wants to see how far Piven has plummeted. I felt pain shoot through my body when I sullied my PS3 by putting this disc in its slot. It was every bit as painful as I imagined it would be. On the bright side, the disc itself is a good one. The movie is just horrid. Bad flick, good disc.