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CHARLIE'S ANGELS

Review by Andrew Manning (10/00)

Release: 2000, Sony
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore, Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Kelly Lynch, Luke Wilson
Director: McG
MPAA Rating: [PG-13] sexuality, violence, language
Genre: Action/Adventure


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SUMMARY

Based on the classic television series, Charlie's Angels is an updated version featuring a new generation of crime fighting women who use martial arts, high-tech gadgets, and their feminine charms to execute covert missions.

THE SUDDEN RUNDOWN

An unexpectedly entertaining blend of comedy and action, Charlie's Angels definitely doesn't fit the typical mold of a remake that never should have been made.

WHAT'S GOOD

  • As the resident scatterbrained genius Natalie, Cameron Diaz is surprisingly funny. Spaced out but brilliant, she has aspirations of being a public dancer, and has her dreams come true when she gets to shake her thing on Soul Train to the song "Baby Got Back." Her other funny moments include talking to Bill Murray through a cell window while chatting on a cell phone and fighting bad guys, and getting beamed in the throat by a rock-hard biscuit.

  • Bill Murray is the movie's other major comic asset. As Bosley, the man who acts as the middleman between the Angels and Charlie, he's a bit of a wuss who is always landing himself in trouble. In one of his best moments, he's captured by the enemy and locked in a tower. After scouring the room, he begins ripping up the bedsheets and laughing maniacally--presumably because he has a master escape plan. But moments later, he's waving the sheets out the window like a white flag of surrender and screaming for the Angels like a little girl. He also nearly sets his head ablaze when he tries to seduce a femme fatale by making a romantic fire.

  • Charlie's Angels features a remarkable amount of action. Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz all kick major ass kung-fu style. In one of the most jaw-dropping slamfests of the whole movie, Barrymore takes out a gang of thugs with a chair tied to her and her hands bound.

  • The soundtrack complements the film nicely, although one wonders if tracks like "Smack My Bitch Up" are appropriate to such a girl-power flick.

  • The movie knows when to toss out the old elements of nostalgia. Thankfully, the plot is updated to a modern day conspiracy of tech espionage. The Angels must stop a criminal from stealing voice recognition software that would make it possible to trace anyone on earth at any time.


WHAT'S BAD

  • As in the recent Stallone bomb Get Carter, Charlie's Angels suffers from a plot that is too mired by twists and double-crosses. This is a movie that needed a straitforward plot and a single villain, not a mess of layers that kept you guessing.

  • The head villain is unimpressive.

  • Many of the fighting scene stunts are obviously enhanced by special effects. Sadly, the result is an unrealistic look similar to The Matrix that doesn't fit this real world environment. The Angels often jump, kick, and move in the most superhuman, unbelievable ways.

  • In a short cameo throughout the movie, Tom Green plays a slack-jawed yokel who refers to himself in the third person. Constantly calling himself "The Chad," he gets annoying in short order.


Rating: 8 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
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