MISS MEADOWS (2014)
Written and directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins
“Never fear! Miss Meadows is here!”
Sweet as sugar Miss Meadows works at a local primary school as a temporary teacher but on her downtime, she likes to serve justice to the neighbourhood criminals. Young, attractive and as pleasant as can be, Miss Meadows catches the attention of the local Sheriff who falls for her optimistic charm and love of all things good in the world. However, he begins to suspect the woman he loves is responsible for some vigilante murders in the neighbourhood which puts everything at risk.
Katie Holmes stars as the titular character, Miss Meadows, in this dark comedy thriller. Dressing in a beautiful floral summer dress with white socks and Mary Jane tap shoes, she’s the epitome of perfection and her politeness only adds to her outward goody-two-shoes appearance. But behind the smiles and tap-tap-tap of her shoes lies a troubled young woman who’s so disgusted and tormented that evil is allowed to roam free in the world that she deems it her duty to clean up and rid the world of it. However, once she embarks upon a relationship, her first ever, with the Sheriff (James Badge Dale), she must try even harder to hide her secret vigilante life. With known criminals lurking in the area, Miss Meadows must protect the children at all costs whilst shielding her beloved from the truth.
Miss Meadows is quite an oddball yet lovable dark comedy with Katie Holmes an excellent choice as the sweet, “innocent” Miss Meadows who takes most things quite literally. Everything about her is just ‘so’, from her fashion choices to even the flowers in her garden. Greeting her neighbours and even her boyfriend formally (Mr, Mrs, Sheriff, etc), and waving ‘toodle-oo’ once they depart, her manners are extraordinary and make her stand out from the crowd. Even one of the characters comments on her as a Pulp Fiction Mary Poppins. Her pleasantries and happy-go-lucky world she creates make for a sharp contrast against the crimes she stumbles upon which include a murder scene at a hot dog diner, a gun-toting curb crawler and a paedophile priest. She’s just the person to deliver justice but her need to clean up the neighbourhood puts her into some dangerous situations and she knows that she’s one step away from being locked up herself for her crimes.
Though Miss Meadows has some brilliant flashes of dark humour, it doesn’t seem to capitalise on it. It seems to pull away at the last minute and goes back to being a sickly sweet romantic drama just when things begin to get a bit juicy. Though it definitely dips its toes into the bloody water, it fails to dive right in and feels like a missed opportunity. Holmes feels right for the role, but the whole movie just seems like a series of sketches or an episode of Bewitched. Even James Badge Dale’s character fails to bring much to the table except for being a love interest and potential spanner in the works for Meadows’ extracurricular activity. Though the film has a lot going for it, it only ever seems to scratch the surface and leaves quite an empty feeling besides.
There’s a few laughs here and there and the pure nature of Miss Meadows will positively charm the birdies from the trees, however, overall, the film is lacking that vital bit of oomph.