Man, this movie is cool! People will tell you it’s an overblown T&A flick, a popcorn movie with way too much topping, trash basically. Well, of course it’s trash! This is “Charlie’s Angels”, not “Citizen Kane”! It’s just like last year’s “The Spy Who Shagged Me”, which also entertained millions with a derivative, over the top pop culture hybrid of comedy, action and sex, with lotsa bright colors and non stop music. You can just see the studio executives sitting in their offices and figuring they could score with a big screen remake of Aaron Spelling’s late ’70s female spy show. So they brought in 14 writers to cook up something resembling a script, hired a music video director and cast three hot Hollywood stars. Okay, this all sounds like a pretty dreadful, shamelessly commercial dud but somehow it ends up being one of the most mindlessly fun Hollywood pictures I’ve seen all year.
It probably has a lot to do with the three leads and the way they really seem to be having a great time being in this movie and playing the boys’ game. First there’s the rebellious, spunky Dylan, portrayed by Drew Barrymore (who’s also one of the movie’s producers), who seems to always be perfecting her flirtatious ways more with every movie. She’s got that special something that makes her unique, a balance of childish enthusiasm and womanly sexuality. Like, she’s not a conventional beauty, you know, she’s often kinda geeky and all, but that’s part of her charm. Next up is hard-boiled Alex, played by Lucy Liu. It’s nice to see her loosen up a little, after her stiff non-role as Princess Pepe in “Shanghai Noon”. Here, she’s doing something along the lines of her dominatrix role in “Payback” and Ling on “Ally McBeal”, you know, the gorgeous bitch who uses her sexuality to manipulate men.
Last but not least is Natalie, brought to jolly life by the adorable Cameron Diaz. I thought my baby was done blowing my mind. I mean, I don’t think any other actress has so often made me go ‘whoa!’. From the first time I saw her in “The Mask”, when she comes in the bank in a red dress, wet from the rain, and she bends and the camera pans on her cleavage… Yowza! Then you see “My Best Friend’s Wedding”, and the girl practically out-Julias Julia Roberts! In “There’s Something About Mary”, she makes you laugh like you’ve never laughed before and she makes you fall in love with her personality as well as with her utter gorgeousness. Then last year, in “Being John Malkovich”, she sheds all the glam and she’s still hella compelling and you realize she also happens to be a great actress. A lot of goodies for a career not even pas the 10 year mark, but that’s nothing next to Diaz the action hero and, even more memorably, what AICN’s Harry Knowles calls “Cameron Diaz’s Swirling Ass”. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched Diaz shake her booty in Spider-Man Underoos!
So you’ve got this three-babe crime-fighting elite team, and this movie is like a $100 million amusement park for them to have fun a’ plenty, entertaining us with good humor, wild action and sexy titillation. There’s a plot somewhere in there, but obviously it ain’t the main attraction and we’re spared any tedious exposition. All we need to know is transmitted to us and the Angels at the same time by Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe), the mysterious millionaire who employs them and only speaks to them through a tacky speaker phone and through his right hand man Bosley (Bill Murray). The girls’ task is to retrieve Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), a computer crack who’s been kidnapped along with the voice identification software he created, possibly by an arrogant competitor (Tim Curry). Other possible suspects include Knox’ sassy business partner Vivian (Kelly Lynch) and a “creepy thin man” (Crispin Glover) with a sword cane and a fetish for woman hair.
That’s it, and that’s enough, As I said, the plot is just an excuse for the rest. Like the numerous scenes in which the Angels go undercover as, say masseuses, or belly dancers, or as a scantily clad trio of telegram-yodeling nymphs – anything so they can dress up sexy and goof around. There’s also a great deal of kung fu action in the movie and, even though it’s all ripped right off “The Matrix”, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; after all, the Wachowski’s cult classic does feature the most exciting action sequences this side of Hong Kong. Hence you can expect mucho unbelievable flip, kick, jump, jive and wail, with nifty camera tricks and even a little “bullet time”. Oh, and if you like “True Lies”, this is another movie that’s been robbed blindly here, most visibly in Barrymore’s escape from the baddies and in the helicopter scene. Then again, despite that it’s all been done before, it’s till a riot to see these kick ass macho things done by Diaz, Barrymore and Liu. Girl Power!
As directed by newcomer McG, “Charlie’s Angels” is a real mess, but that’s somehow what makes it so damn fun: you never know what’s coming next. It might be race cars playing chicken on a bridge, or a hilarious cameo by Tom Green as “the Chad”, an insecure dude who lives on a boat, or Luke Wilson taking Cameron Diaz out to Soul Train so she can get funky or whatnot. And throughout, McG keeps it fast, funny and explosive, all eye candy and awesome music (everything from Korn to Prodigy to various ’80s pop and just about every song with ‘angel’ in the title). Go see this movie. You know you want to.