"Never fear Miss Meadows is here." Starring Katie Holmes as the well-mannered Miss Meadows, she's a modern day Mary Poppins with one exception; word is going round that a vigilante is on a killing spree hopping from town to town, and it seems a coincidence that this town has become much safer since Miss Meadows has arrived. There are a lot of odd components to this film, such as our vigilante being a character who appears to have walked straight out of a Disney film, having bad CGI animals flocking around her, and the children seem to love her. She’s a protector of her local neighbourhood(s) and the innocent children within it, but she's no Batgirl and don’t be expecting any ass-kicking action. She gardens, she knits, she paints and she accessorises, all with a small pistol in her purse always ready to take out the next criminal.
Miss Meadows has a rather Wes Anderson-style tone to its characters in how they struggle with social awkwardness, but writer/director Karen Leigh Hopkins has no sympathy for the harmful criminals that invade her heroine's town. Hopkins is an actress-turned-director and Miss Meadows is her first feature in over a decade, with a prominent cast having been brought in for the film. The director seems to have played it all a little too safe though, and the film doesn't seem to go to any real depth, lacking lustre and extremity; it's not too threatening and our heroine always appears rather vulnerable despite her claiming otherwise. Having said that, however, there is also something slightly strange and daring about the film. Its mixture of satire and social commentary, although rather off-balanced, raises some dark questions in an otherwise upbeat and artificial world.
It's not until about an hour into the film that the story starts to get really shady, though, and Miss Meadows reveals a dark past that has been her drive to dish out her own justice. She thinks she has it figured out, but her big secret is slowly revealed to those she holds dear. It has a dark sense of humour that is very matter-of-fact due to Holmes' prim and proper character.
Miss Meadows could have been better had it been more stylized with either added melancholy or action. There isn't much going on in this film as it struggles to find its own voice, however Katie Holmes delivers a compelling performance and her character alone may keep you hooked in.
MISS MEADOWS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: KAREN LEIGH HOPKINS / STARRING: KATIE HOLMES, JAMES BADGE DALE, CALLAN MULVEY, JEAN SMART / RELEASE DATE: JULY 27TH