The Hit Girl (2013) – By Duane L. Martin

Bill (James Castle Stevens) is a hit man. He’s a big, strong guy and he kills people that need killin’…for money. Underneath all that though, he’s just a big softy when it comes to his sister Elizabeth (Sharon Gibson) and his niece Suzy (Jessamyn Arnstein). After her father took off, Bill had been more of a father to Jessamyn than her own real father ever had been, and they had a really close relationship, which included a mutual love of film.

When he’s sent to kill a scumbag strip club owner who’s into drug dealing and kidnapping young girls to trade to people he owes money to, Bill stops in to have dinner with his sister and niece and ends up spending the night. Now here’s what happened. His sister had some antiquities stored at home temporarily because they didn’t have room for them where she worked, and one of these was a statue of a goddess holding up scales. Well, when Elizabeth got called out to work, Bill stayed to watch Suzy for the evening, and while they were talking about all the problems teenage girls have, Bill just happened to have his hand on the statue when he mentioned that he wished that he had the problems of a teenage girl. Well that was a mistake, because the scales unbalanced when he said it, and sure enough, the next morning, he woke up as teenage girl, and they ended up deciding to call him Jessica (Ella Celina Bowen). Now he and Suzy have to figure out how it happened, and how to change him back to his old self, while at the same time, figuring out how he’s not only going to fit in as a teenage girl, but also how he’s going to complete his contract, since he’s no longer the big, strong guy he used to be.

There’s more to the story than this, but that’s enough to get you going. I’m not going to sit here and recite the whole movie in a review. See the movie if you want to know what happens. That’s that movies are for!

The whole body switch thing has been done a million times, and more often than not it’s just a big yawn. Hell, this isn’t even the first film that director James A. Ward has made with this theme. In 2009, he made a film called Identity Theft with the same type of a theme, which I also reviewed here in the magazine. When you’re dealing with a subject that’s basically been done to death, you’d better bring something to the party other than just another contrived script with a story that everyone’s seen a million times. Fortunately, James Ward not only does that, but he takes this tired old theme and manages to make it a whole lot of fun.

I had really enjoyed Identity Theft back in 2009 when I reviewed it, so when he contacted me and told me about his latest film, Immediately I thought it sounded like a lot of fun, so I was happy to get the chance to review it. As it turns out, I was right. Not only is it a whole lot of fun, but the cast is great and there are some entertainingly awkward moments, like when Elizabeth talks with "Jessica" about menstruation and passes her a tampon.

Ella Celina Bowen does a nice job as Jessica in acting like someone who’s unfamiliar with not only being a girl, but in being in a much smaller body. She’s quite talented at bringing the "awkward guy trying to deal with being a girl" out in the personality of her character.

Jessamyn Arnstein is absolutely adorable, with a smile and a personality like sunshine, and she throws those personal traits into her character, which really makes her fun to watch. Her enthusiasm and willingness to jump right in and help Jessica adds so much to the story. If she had been some whiny, emo teenager, it would have really killed the whole vibe of the film. The fact that she was so sunny and eager to help really boosted the whole story to another level.

I’m not going to go into specifics about the events in the film, because I really want to encourage everyone to see it so you can support James Ward’s work as a film maker. He tells a fun story and has assembled a great cast that makes it all work in a coherent and fun way. I really can’t recommend it enough. James hasn’t made many films, but the ones he has made are great, and I’d like to see a lot more from him in the future.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its website at http://www.thehitgirlmovie.com, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can either buy it through the website or you can pick it up the DVD from Amazon.