Written by John D’Arco
Directed by Kyle Newman
The problems with the new action-comedy Barely Lethal start with its title. There’s something creepy afoot when a movie leads with a metaphorical elbow in the ribs, informing you that its protagonist is just old enough to kill you by using a pun which implies that she’s also just old enough to have sex with you. Every joke in the film has that same elbow-in-the-ribs quality, desperately trying to let you know how funny it is. Most of its claims to hilarity come up short.
Hailee Steinfeld (an Oscar nominee for the Coen Brothers’ True Grit) plays a nameless teenager raised from a young age to be a super-spy by the flinty Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson). But when a mission to apprehend a rogue arms dealer (Jessica Alba) goes wrong, she is able to fake her