Charlie's Angels

"Good"

Charlie's Angels Review


In one of many joyously over-the-top undercover scenes in the impish big screen adaptation of "Charlie's Angels," Drew Barrymore -- incognito as part of a sexbomb race track pit crew clad in cleavage-flaunting stars-and-stripes leather jumpsuits -- distracts a bad guy's chauffeur by seductively licking the steering wheel of his car.

The way Barrymore embraces the preposterousness of this moment with giddy aplomb personifies the spirit of this comedically sexy, digitally enhanced, candy-colored, B-movie mock-exploitation romp.

A vast, sassy, action-packed improvement on the '70s TV show, which never could reconcile its insincere femme empowerment message with its transparent jiggle factor draw, this picture adds to the mix a "Xena"-like self-aware sense of humor that gives flight to the formulaic proceedings.

Angel Cameron Diaz isn't supposed to be credible as the geeky, bookish, girl-powered kung-fu expert. Neither are Barrymore or Lucy Liu, as the other two Angels -- elite private eyes who battle crime for their unseen millionaire boss. The movie implies this trio is just the latest of Charlie's sexy agents, whom he still addresses on the same clunky speakerphone seen in the 24-year-old TV series.

In this adventure, they're hired to rescue a kidnapped computer kingpin (Sam Rockwell, "Galaxy Quest"), whose new security software could threaten privacy and corporate security worldwide if it falls into the wrong hands. It is implied those hands belong to a nefarious-looking Tim Curry (wearing his delightful, trademarked snickering sneer), a business rival with an uncanny super-henchman (the cryptic, wickedly slick and dapper Crispin Glover) who engages the girls in several awesome fight sequences amped up with those "Matrix"-style, wire-suspension and 3D freeze-frame F/X. (Used in moderation, this has to be the greatest advent in action movies since the car chase.)

But there's more to this kidnapping then meets the eye, and the repercussions could mean the demise of both Charlie and his bodacious detective agency (enter surprise headquarters explosion here!).

Speaking of car chases, after Barrymore seduces the limo driver in the aforementioned scene, Diaz and Glover engage in a game of chicken while driving Formula One racers on the streets of Los Angeles in a scene that is the epitome of action movie fun taken to its enjoyably ridiculous apex.

The whole movie is like that, so if you look for even a modicum of realism in your movies about hottie detectives with black belts and barely there wardrobes, you'd better look elsewhere. "Charlie's Angels" is a deliberately histrionic action flick, and a by-design guilty pleasure if there ever was one. How else can you explain Bill Murray hamming it up as Bosley, the girls' bumbling go-between to their elusive boss?

A music video director going by the laughable moniker of McG directed "Charlie's Angels," and he happily pays sardonic homage to the cheeziness of the TV show (bad blue screen effects shots are too obvious to be an accident) while giving the flick an uber-stylish, tongue-in-cheek makeover that strikes an endlessly entertaining balance between corny and cool.

The dialogue is dreadful (on purpose, no doubt) and the plot points are absurdly obvious. The stunts are incredible and the outfits are practically special effects themselves. The disguises are deliciously ludicrous (Lucy Liu as a dominatrix/office efficiency expert) and the finale -- a martial arts-and-helicopter showdown at a cliff-side castle -- is enough to make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a pantywaist.

It's a neck-and-neck race between stupid and funny, and just plain stupid. Stupid and funny wins by just enough to make the movie a total gas.



Charlie's Angels

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd November 2000

Box Office USA: $124.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $264.1M

Budget: $92M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 95 Rotten: 46

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Natalie Cook, as Alex Munday, as Dylan Sanders, as John Bosley, as Charles Townsend, as Eric Knox, as Vivian Wood, as Roger Corwin, as Pete Komisky, as Thin Man, Matt LeBlanc as Jason Gibbons, as Chad, as Mr. Jones, as Pasqual, as Doris, as Thug

Also starring:

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