Film

A Proper Vigilante: Katie Holmes as prim murderer ‘Miss Meadows’

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Two and a half stars

Miss Meadows Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey. Directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. Not rated. Available on Video on Demand.

Katie Holmes has gotten more attention for tabloid coverage of her personal life than for her acting career in the last several years, but dark comedy Miss Meadows (which she executive-produced) gives her a chance to show off the skills that many have forgotten about. The movie is an uneven mix of exploitation, satire and misguided social commentary, but Holmes holds it together with her best performance since the days of Dawson’s Creek.

She plays the title character, a suburban schoolteacher who dresses and acts like a cross between a Disney princess and June Cleaver, even while she’s gunning down murderers, rapists and child molesters. Writer-director Karen Leigh Hopkins can’t seem to decide if she’s going for over-the-top camp or disturbing psychological thriller, and the movie never succeeds at either.

But Holmes manages to make Miss Meadows both funny and vulnerable, even if she can’t quite reconcile the inconsistencies of the character’s personality. Her romance with a sensitive local cop (James Badge Dale) doesn’t make much sense, but their twisted family life in the movie’s epilogue hints at the bolder, more incisive movie that would have been worthy of Holmes’ performance.

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