Barely Lethal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Barely Lethal
Barely Lethal Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kyle Newman
Produced by
Written by John D'Arco
Music by Mateo Messina
Cinematography Peter Lyons Collister
Edited by Lisa Zeno Churgin
Distributed by
Release dates
  • April 30, 2015 (2015-04-30) (DirecTV Cinema)
  • May 29, 2015 (2015-05-29)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $6,075 (domestic)[2]

Barely Lethal is a 2015 American independent action comedy film directed by Kyle Newman and written by John D'Arco, starring Hailee Steinfeld, Sophie Turner, Jessica Alba, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film follows a teenage special ops agent (Steinfeld) yearning for a "normal" adolescence who fakes her own death and enrolls as an "exchange" student in a suburban American high school. She quickly learns that surviving the treacherous waters of being a teenager can be more difficult than international espionage.

The film received an exclusive on-demand release by DirecTV Cinema on April 30, 2015 and a limited release in theaters by A24 Films and through video-on-demand on May 29, 2015. The film received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics.


The orphans in the government-run Prescott Academy are taught practically since birth to become government agents. Their number one rule is "no attachments". Agent 83 (Hailee Steinfeld) has always had curiosity of the world outside the Academy, however. Despite her excellent work in the field, she has dreamt of a normal life. She brushes up on her teen culture through popular magazines and watching movies and TV shows like Mean Girls, Bring It On, and Beverly Hills, 90210. Her mentor Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson) has always discouraged her and the other girls from becoming attached to anything. 83's skills have also made her rivals with 84 (Sophie Turner).

Hardman assigns the girls to capture wanted arms dealer Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba). The agents head to Chechnya to apprehend her. 83 goes undercover as one of those captured and brought before Knox. She manages to latch herself and Knox onto an oncoming jet with Hardman on it. When they get high and far enough, 83 drops herself into a river while the other agents apprehend Knox. They find no sign of 83 and declare her MIA.

83 goes into hiding to start her new life as a regular teenager and goes through an exchange program to live with the Larson family under the name Megan Walsh. She is picked up by Mrs. Larson (Rachael Harris) and her children Liz (Dove Cameron) and Parker (Jason Ian Drucker). Parker instantly likes Megan but Liz is cold and distant.

Megan picks a ridiculous outfit for her first day of school and is immediately laughed at. Liz gets embarrassed and gives her new clothes to put on. Megan gets introduced to the students at an assembly where she says she is from Regina, Canada. The students laugh at her, but she is saved by the school's most popular guy, Cash (Toby Sebastian), as he goes up to play his guitar and sing. He then performs onstage with his band, Emotacon.

As Megan continues her new life as a high school student, she makes friends with a geeky kid named Roger (Thomas Mann), who has an interest in her, despite her attraction to Cash. Megan finds out she's in a biology class with him and hacks the system to make him her lab partner, to the ire of two mean girls. As retaliation, the girls convince Megan that Cash loves girls with school spirit and suggest she try out for the position of school mascot. Since she is the only contender, Megan scores the position. During a game, a few kids from a rival school come and try to kidnap Megan as part of an annual tradition. She kicks their asses and the video of her doing this goes viral. It earns her some popularity, but also annoys Liz.

Back at Prescott, Hardman is holding Knox in captivity. 84 walks in on them as Knox tells Hardman that Prescott destroys lives, and she's not just talking about the targets.

Megan spends more time with Cash, to Roger's dismay. As she's walking home, she is apprehended by a Prescott analyst (Jaime King) and is brought back to Hardman. He is ready to have his minion Pedro (Steve-O) torture Megan under the assumption that she is working with enemies of Prescott. He injects her with a truth serum and realizes she is honest when she says she only wanted to enjoy a normal life outside the Academy. Pedro also sympathizes with Megan as she cries. Hardman lets her go but warns her that if she gets into trouble, they won't be there to bail her out. They dump her on the front porch of the Larson house to make Megan appear drunk.

Megan gets invited to a big party at the home of the school's class clown Gooch (Gabriel Basso). Mrs. Larson encourages Megan to go and makes Liz join her. At the party, Megan continues to hang out with Cash, while Liz gets drunk with Gooch in his bathtub, learning that his name is really Bernard and that he's not a total jerk. To Megan's surprise, 84 is there, now going by Heather. Megan thinks Hardman sent Heather to shadow her, but she has her own plan brewing. She goes after Cash to piss Megan off, forcing them into a game. Megan eventually wins Cash's attention and gets asked by him to the homecoming dance.

The next morning, Mrs. Larson is upset with Megan and Liz since Liz passed out and got a penis drawn on her face. Megan is later about to take the bus to school when she sees that Hardman is driving a bus and only passes through to warn Megan that Knox has escaped from Prescott. Liz drives Megan to school, but they are pursued by a masked assassin. Megan steers them away from danger and admits to Liz her secret. They crash in a junkyard while also getting the assassin to crash. Megan goes to investigate and smells what she recognizes to be Ke$ha perfume, meaning it was Heather that tried to murder them.

Liz is in the hospital after the crash. Megan tells her she has to leave before anybody else gets hurt. Liz responds that Megan trying to abandon the family would be worse. The girls go to the homecoming dance. Megan realizes that Cash is kind of a boring person and dumps him. She goes to apologize to Roger, who is still sort of upset with her, and then she finds out that his date is Heather. She provokes Megan's rage and they fight in the gym. They spill punch on the mean girls, who then start to fight each other. Heather chases Megan into the hallway where they end up in the kitchen. Heather says she joined Knox for the chance to kill Megan herself. She also brags about making out with Cash and Roger. Liz sneaks up on Heather and stabs her in the leg with a corn dog stick, allowing Megan to whack Heather over the head and knock her out.

Megan returns home to find that Knox and some goons have taken Parker and Mrs. Larson hostage. Megan fights the goons but Liz gets captured as well. Knox reveals that she was Agent 1 - the very first Prescott girl, but she left and turned against them. Hardman shows up with reinforcements to take out the goons and tranquilize Knox. Megan knows Hardman came back to help her, despite his denial, and she hugs him. Parker asks Hardman how he can get in on the action, and he tells him to apply for the Prescott boys school. He excitedly asks his mom if he can. Using one of Prescott's helicopters, Megan finds Roger driving home with his father and stops them in the middle of the road. She tells Roger her true feelings for him and they kiss. Roger joins Megan, Liz and Gooch in the helicopter, despite Roger's father's (Rob Huebel) objections.

In a mid-credits scene, Heather is in a car with a former minion of Knox. She stares at a photo of Megan on a screen and orders him to find out where she is going to college and her safety schools.




Principal photography began in Atlanta, Georgia and ended in December 2013.[3][4]


On July 7, 2014, it was announced that Mateo Messina would be scoring the music for the film.[5] The film originally received an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), but the filmmakers appealed for PG-13 rating without having to cut or edit any scenes. The film is now rated PG-13 on appeal for 'sexual material, teen drinking, language, drug references and some action violence'.

The film debuts the original song "You Don't Know Me", performed by The Rumor Mill with Chetti, which plays over the opening title sequence.


On February 25, 2015, the film was acquired by A24 and DirecTV before being released in theaters and on demand with a planned release in 2015 by A24.[6] The film was released on DirecTV Cinema on April 30, 2015.[7] The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand beginning on May 29, 2015.[8] The film was released in the United Kingdom on August 28, 2015 in select cinemas and will be released through video-on-demand and on DVD on October 26, 2015[9] by Signature Entertainment.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics. Many critics complimented the cast, but criticized the film for its plot, action sequences and attempting to mix as both an action film and teen comedy. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 20% with an average rating of 4.2 out of 10.[11] It scored 42 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 9 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12] Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a poor review, commenting that: ""Barely Lethal" is clearly confused about its intended audience, starting with the icky title, a pun on the porn label that selects and photographs models to emphasize their youth."[13] Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a more positive review, calling it a "fun-enough teen action comedy."[14] Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film a mixed review saying that: 'Barely Lethal has some laughs, and will probably serve nicely as a movie you can land on for a few minutes when it shows up on cable. But it slides into the rote generic-teen-comedy mode too soon to be anything more.'[15]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD[16] and Blu-ray[17] on August 4, 2015 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Both contained a UltraViolet digital copy of the film. Special features included deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette titled "Back to School: On Set with Barely Lethal" and an audio commentary with director Kyle Newman and actors Dove Cameron and Thomas Mann.


Barely Lethal (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Mateo Messina
Released June 9, 2015
Recorded 2015
Genre Soundtrack
Length 33:07
Label Lakeshore Records

The original motion picture soundtrack for Barely Lethal was released on June 9, 2015 by Lakeshore Records. The album features the film’s original music composed by Mateo Messina. The album does not contain "You Don't Know Me", performed by The Rumor Mill with Chetti, an original song for the film. The song does appear in the opening title sequence of the film.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Prescott"   Mateo Messina 0:46
2. "Fight Club"   Mateo Messina 1:43
3. "Oh Canada"   Mateo Messina 0:34
4. "Battle Axe"   Mateo Messina 0:50
5. "Victoria Knox"   Mateo Messina 2:30
6. "Band Ass"   Mateo Messina 0:26
7. "Last Chance"   Mateo Messina 1:01
8. "Hs Transition"   Mateo Messina 0:18
9. "Truth Serum A"   Mateo Messina 2:09
10. "Truth Serum B"   Mateo Messina 2:23
11. "Car Chase"   Mateo Messina 2:56
12. "Number One"   Mateo Messina 3:40
13. "Douche Baguette"   Mateo Messina 3:28
14. "White Van"   Mateo Messina 0:37
15. "Newton Suite"   Mateo Messina 1:15
16. "Megan & Roger Suite"   Mateo Messina 1:55
17. "Bad Guys"   Mateo Messina 0:47
18. "True Liz"   Mateo Messina 1:06
19. "High School"   Mateo Messina 0:18
20. "Higher School"   Mateo Messina 0:15
21. "Holes"   Mateo Messina 0:31
22. "Nearly Chanced"   Mateo Messina 1:05
23. "Popcorn"   Mateo Messina 0:51
24. "Helichopper"   Mateo Messina 0:57
25. "Prescott Reprise"   Mateo Messina 0:46
Total length:


  1. ^ "BARELY LETHAL (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. June 22, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Box office gross". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  3. ^ Production Begins on Kyle Newman's Barely Lethal, Publisher:, Published date: November 12, 2013, Access date: November 14, 2013
  4. ^ Filming updates: "Barely Lethal," "Mockingjay," "Fast & Furious"
  5. ^ "Mateo Messina Scoring ‘Barely Lethal’". July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ "'Barely Lethal' Starring Hailee Steinfeld Goes to A24, DirecTV (Exclusive)". February 24, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ "New Trailer, Poster and Stills form Barely Lethal starring Hailee Steinfeld and Samuel L. Jackson". 
  8. ^ "MovieInsider: Barely Lethal". 
  9. ^ "Barely Lethal [DVD]". Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Barely Lethal - Signature Entertainment". Signature Entertainment. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Barely Lethal (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Barely Lethal". Metacritic. Retrieved May 30, 2015. 
  13. ^ "'Barely Lethal' kicks teen angst over the head with weak spy tale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  14. ^ "'Barely Lethal' movie review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Review: 'Barely Lethal' aims high but misfires". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Barely Lethal (DVD + Digital)". Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Barely Lethal (Blu-ray + Digital)". Retrieved August 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]