Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: "Charlie’s Angels" Pure Pop Pleasure

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 99 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Charlie’s Angels (2000)
Running time: 98 minutes (1 hour, 38 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for action violence, innuendo and some sensuality/nudity
WRITERS: Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, and John August (from the television series by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts)
PRODUCERS: Drew Barrymore, Leonard Goldberg, and Nancy Juvonen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russell Carpenter (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Peter Teschner and Wayne Wahrman
COMPOSER: Edward Shearmur


Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, Tom Green, LL Cool J, and John Forsythe (voice)

The subject of this movie review is Charlie’s Angels, a 2000 action comedy from director McG (the stage name of Joseph McGinty Nichol). The film is an adaptation of the television series, “Charlie’s Angels,” which was originally broadcast on ABC from 1976 to 1981. The film stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu as three women employed by a private investigation agency and working for the voice known as “Charlie.”

When I first saw Charlie’s Angels, the big-screen adaptation of the late 70’s television series of the same name, I was sure that it was the best action/comedy that I’d seen in years, if ever. Having seen it again in anticipation of the 2003 sequel, I’m sure that it is one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen and one of the best action/comedies ever made. Although the film’s tongue is firmly planted in the Angel’s cheeks and the film is geared towards men, it’s so very entertaining that everyone should get the joke.

The mysterious Charles “Charlie” Townsend (voice of John Forsythe) has three very special little ladies in his employ: Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz), Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore), and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu). Under the supervision of John Bosley (Bill Murray), Charlie’s Angels use martial arts, high tech skills, and sex appeal in their investigation work for clients who can afford Charlie’s agency. This time the client is kidnap victim Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell) who runs a giant software company. The girls not only have to rescue him, but also have to retrieve Knox’s revolutionary voice-ID software. However, the girls run into more than they were told to expect, including a sleazy billionaire (Tim Curry) and his mysterious, tall, thin, ass-kickin’ bodyguard (Crispin Glover).

Directed by music video maestro McG (videos for Korn and Sugar Ray, among others), Charlie's Angels is a high-octane, comic book-styled, action movie parody and farce. None of it should be taken seriously, least of all its conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy script. This is played for fun, recalling the best action movie scenes and clichés: car chases, exploding buildings, pumping soundtrack, quick-cut editing, and Matrix-style “wire-fu” martial arts. Maybe the funniest thing about this film is that this time women do the butt stomping. Usually in action movies, the girls are just the hang-ons of the male stars, following them around and screaming at the appropriate moments during gun fights, fist fights, car chases, aircraft falling out the sky, explosions, etc. This time the girls are in control. This time their sex appeal rules the story instead of just being sex used to decorate the violence. The ladies kick the butts and leave the men panting.

It’s all done so stylishly, and it’s all good and so cool. The vapid material gets inspired performances from the cast, but the actors really make this fun to watch. Bill Murray is tired though. His Bosley is just him doing his shtick, but it is so uninspired that he should have been embarrassed to see himself in the finished product. He was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

But don’t let that keep you from watching this funny, exciting, and very wild action cartoon. Come on. Pull the stick out. Sit back and be entertained by this delicious serving of popcorn movie.

7 or 10

2001 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Song” (Jean Claude Olivier-Writer, Samuel Barnes-Writer, Cory Rooney-Writer, Beyoncé Knowles-Writer, and Destiny’s Child-Performers for the song “Independent Women Part 1”)

Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013

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