Review: Charlie’s Angels

charlies_angels_cov.jpgYear: 2000
Director: McG
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover
Kaboom Review Action Movie Rating: 34 (Too Annoying)

Plot
The Angels try to rescue a kidnapped computer executive.

Quick Review
When all the dust settles in this film, there simply isn’t much in Charlie’s Angels to recommend to anyone except ardent fans of the three main actors. The occasional action is perhaps the highlight, but it drowns in the film’s insipid attempts at humor. There is little attention to premise, the story is uninspiring and fractured, and the exaggerated and flaunted cuteness of the three Angels is annoying.

Full Review
From a male standpoint, it’s hard not to like the concept of Charlie’s Angels: Take three gorgeous women and turn them into action movie heroines. But execution is everything in movies, and a good concept is where the positives end with Charlie’s Angels. In nearly every way this movie falls short.

charlies_angels_4.jpgInstead of making a movie to appeal to a wide audience, the producers must have found some marketing research that told them to aim the film at young girls. The result is that watching Charlie’s Angels is like attending a birthday party for thirteen-year-old girls. It’s probably a lot of fun if you’re thirteen, or if you’re related to one of the girls.

For everyone else, the goofiness, sassiness, and randomness of the film grate on you. The film is stuffed with annoyingly cute yet utterly meaningless scenes whose purpose is to flaunt the sex appeal of the main actors. There are slow motion hair flips, a bizarre butt dance by Cameron Diaz, and several scenes letting us know that Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) can’t cook. Again, if you’re a rabid fan of these actors, perhaps these dorky scenes are entertaining. If not, they serve little purpose in the movie. They aren’t particularly funny, they’re aren’t particularly sexy, and they stop the story.

These numerous random scenes end up making the characters inconsistent to the point that it’s hard to believe their actions even within the admittedly silly premise. In one scene, the Angels are incredibly coordinated and smart. In the next scene, they are so uncoordinated that they walk into doorframes. It’s charlies_angels_1.jpgjust too hard to swallow.

It’s hard to blame the acting of the Angels (Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu) for the film’s failure. The problems with this film are above their heads, and the three women do a passable job with the poorly conceived, goofy characters. Bill Murray, however, who plays Charlie’s assistant Boz, seems lost in his role. Sam Rockwell, who plays a leading role as the kidnapped computer executive, stands out as the most convincing character in the movie, but this is not saying much.

Even when the movie concentrates on the story, things aren’t much better. The plot is actually passable, but the film’s blatant disregard for any sort of a premise sucks the story into meaninglessness. Charlie’s Angels is apparently set in some bizarre world where urban bridges are barren of traffic in the middle of day, where bombs can devastate a city building and no one comes by to see what happened, and where people can parachute out of commercial jetliners and land in waiting boats. It’s all too convenient and charlies_angels_3.jpgcontrived. At the halfway point in the film, I had completely stopped caring.

There are some random positives in Charlie’s Angels, however. The back half of the film focuses more on the story and is much better than the first half. Overall, the pacing is brisk despite the film’s randomness. There are some decent stunts and a couple of convincing explosions. The villains in the film are reasonably interesting, which Chris Glover putting an effective, twisted spin on his role as Thin Man.

Also, some of the action scenes are intense and well shot, and the fighting entertains. Much of the marital arts fighting copies the slow motion, exaggerated style of the Matrix, and to good effect. Unfortunately, even in these good scenes, the dopey humor and the intense action overlap in ways that make the film seem broken and confused. For example, in one scene, Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) gets a call from a guy she’s interested in dating, and she proceeds to have a casual conversation with him in the middle of charlies_angels_2.jpgan intense fight. It just doesn’t work.

When all else fails in an action movie, it should at least give us some nice eye candy, but outside of Lucy Liu, I was not impressed. Cameron Diaz, cute in previous films, has lost that special something in this role, and Drew Barrymore has little appeal in the film either. From a hunk perspective, things aren’t much better. The highlight would have to be Sam Rockwell, but he isn’t given much of a sensual role.

When all the dust settles in this film, there simply isn’t much in Charlie’s Angels to recommend to anyone except ardent fans of the three main actors. The occasional action is perhaps the highlight, but it drowns in the film’s insipid attempts at humor. There is little attention to premise, the story is uninspiring and fractured, and the exaggerated and flaunted cuteness of the three Angels is annoying.

Fun Fact
To get ready for the film, the three actresses did martial arts training for eight hours a day for three months.

Score
Pace: 61
Plot: 40
Action: 62
Consistent Premise: 12
Script/Quotes: 25
Characters: 47
Acting: 45
Villain: 44
Body Count: 12
Time to First Dead Body: Not sure
Babes: 58
Hunks: 48
Explosions: 52
Special Effects: 62
Stunts: 82
Ending: 58

Overall: 34 (Too Annoying)

[tags]Charlie’s Angels, action movie review, McG, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover[/tags]

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