Movie Review -- Charlie's Angels (2000)
by Justin Felix
Screenplay by Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, and John August.
Based upon the TV series Charlie's Angels created by Ivan Goff and Ben
Directed by McG.
Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Bill Murray.
Briefly appearing Tim Curry, Matt LeBlanc, L. L. Cool J., and Tom Green.
Rated PG-13 (contains fantasy action, fantasy violence, fantasy kung fu,
fantasy kickboxing, fantasy explosions, fantasy relationships, and
several shameless scenes of Cameron Diaz shaking her bottom) 98 mins.
Synopsis: Cute girls Natalie, Dylan, and Alex are secretly the world's
greatest crimefighting trio funded by a millionaire named Charlie and
conspicuously led by a bozo named Boseley. On duty, they fight an evil
computer genius (let's face it, aren't all computer geniuses evil in
movies?) and his henchmen and henchwomen. Off duty, Dylan sleeps around,
Alex pursues her dream of being an actress, and Natalie shakes her bottom
in as many locales as possible.
Comments: I'm not sure whether Charlie's Angels is the worst film in
years or a sublime exercise in cheese the likes of which haven't been
seen since Bruce Willis did Hudson Hawk. Hence, I give the film the
middle grade (three stars) in a five-star system. Watching Charlie's Angels is like seeing an Ed Wood film with a big budget (and in color, I
should add). The movie is uniformly bad, and I want to emphasize the
word "bad". The humor falls almost completely flat, the action is loud
and stupid, the characters are painfully one-dimensional, and many scenes
seem like pale imitations of superior films. Yet, like seeing a train
wreck, though I was repulsed by what I saw on the screen, I can't help
but admitting that I wanted to see more. In fact, I'd like to see the
Sound weird? Yes. But this seems to be the attempt of this movie. In
often-discussed postmodern style, Charlie's Angels admits to the audience
that it is nothing but a shameless retread of an old TV series. The
opening sequence, for example, has passengers on a plane complain about
the in-flight movie, T.J. Hooker, The Movie, a fictional remake of another
old TV series. And so Charlie's Angels goes about in a self-aware style
to shamelessly bring up everything people dread about the 1970s, the time
period the original TV series sprang from. This includes a
jaw-droppingly awful scene on the set of "Soul Train," a scene allowing
Cameron Diaz to once again jiggle her bottom to the audience.
What's most amazing is the amount of star power (I hesitate to use the
term "quality acting") appearing in Charlie's Angels. The title
characters are played by three of Hollywood's premiere young leading
ladies: Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz's behind, er, I mean
Cameron Diaz. Joining them are comic geniuses Bill Murray and Tim Curry
who provide the only genuine humor in the film. In fact, they have a
wrestling scene together that is so bizzare yet funny that I cannot
describe it other than to say if you've ever experimented with drugs,
you'll swear you were having a flashback when seeing the scene. Other
stars? If you count Matt LeBlanc from the TV series Friends, real-life
Drew Barrymore sweetheart Tom Green, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, and
rapper-turned-horror-movie-actor L. L. Cool J as stars, then, yes, there
are a lot of stars here. I should also mention a terrific actor you
probably don't know named Crispin Glover who plays one of the bad guys in
this movie. You know he's a bad guy because he smokes all the time.
Clever, isn't it? You'll think he's a terrific actor when you consider
that he played the nerdy father George McFly in Back to the Future. Once
again, you have to see the film in order to understand what I mean.
So, you've got a lot of well-known people either wasting their time on a
big-budget turkey or lending their time to a superb parody / tribute of
the wasteland known as 1970s TV, depending upon your point of view. Some
things, however, are distinctly modern about this film. These include
more than just Cameron Diaz's butt. How about the fact that Charlie's Angels unforgivably steals action sequences from the recent film The Matrix? In an important scene of the movie, as a matter of fact, Drew
Barrymore, in slow motion, barely dodges a bullet visibly rippling the
air. Sound familiar?
If you're reading this review and thinking that I've neglected the plot
of this film, don't criticize me. Let's face it, for a film of this
nature, the plot is just about irrelevent. Charlie's Angels is eye-candy
to the extreme. Scantily-clad, good-looking women and pyrotechnics are
the focus here. Well, that and Cameron Diaz's ass. (Hey, if you think
I'm obssessing over Diaz's figure, just wait until you see how often she
flaunts her tush in the movie!) If this sounds like your type of
escapist entertainment, you'll love this film. If not, avoid it at all costs.
(Out of five)