REVIEW: CHARLIES ANGELS 1 & 2

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bill Murray (Groundhog Day)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Kelly Lynch (Road House)
Tim Curry (IT)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea)
Tom Green (Road Trip)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)

Story-wise, the 98-minute movie closely resembles a 50-minute episode of the TV series, though story is the least of the film’s concerns. Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu) are private eyes working for the elusive, never-seen millionaire Charles Townsend – Charlie (voiced, as he was in the original TV series, by John Forsythe). Bosley (Bill Murray) is Charlie’s assistant, acting as an intermediary between Charlie, his “Angels,” and their clients. Unlike the TV show, the movie provides the girls with James Bondian gadgetry and outrageous superhero-like prowess.What plot there is involves the apparent kidnapping of a Bill Gates-type software genius, Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell). Business partner Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch) hires Charlie’s Angels to rescue him from communications magnate Roger Corwin (Tim Curry) before he can get his hands on Knox’s latest invention, a voice-recognition system. Combined with satellite monitoring, it would enable users to track down virtually anyone anywhere in the world, rendering privacy a thing of the past.Charlie’s Angels was directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol, who goes by the professional moniker “McG.” This was his first feature after a well-regarded series of music videos and television commercials. Charlie’s Angels itself very much resembles a movie-length music video or extended television commercial, with its short-attention-span cutting, in-your-face action, and loud pop music blaring non-stop on the soundtrack – including seemingly every song with “Angel” in the title. Almost every shot is visually arresting; even an ordinary fast-food drive-thru is made to look glamorously retro. The locations, including the Chemosphere house in the Hollywood Hills, are well chosen, and the three leads wear colorful costumes throughout, probably going through 50 costume changes during the course of the film.But there’s little in the way of breathing room and what brief pauses there are tend to expose just how empty the picture is. Nevertheless the women are unusually appealing here. Barrymore’s character, the “bad” girl among the angels, is flirtatious while Diaz’s, apparently both a genius and a scatterbrain at once, has a genuinely sweet blossoming romance with an equally clueless bartender well-played by Luke Wilson. There’s an obvious affection for the original TV show which, while conceptually ingenious was routine and undistinguished, though initially quite popular. The movie embraces its iconography, including the TV show’s clever opening title design. It’s also nice to hear Forsythe’s voice emanating from that little white speaker again. Like the TV show, the film poignantly closes with the Angels almost but not quite getting to meet their boss, a wrap-up scene that’s like a little tribute to the distinguished actor playing him. (Forsythe passed away earlier this year, at the age of 92.)

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Demi Moore (G.I. Jane)
Rodrigo Santoro (300)
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Robert Forster (Dragon wars)
Eve (XXX)
Pink (Rollerball)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Steve Hytner (The Prophecy)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)
Ashley Olsen (Full House)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
Jaclyn Smith (The Bourne Identity TV)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)

The Angels are back and better than ever. The trio of heroines are infinitely charming, and the film is full of sparkling pop-culture energy that is impossible to resist. Then a pair of rings encoded with the identities and addresses of everyone in the witness protection program are stolen from the Justice Department, the Angels are called in to retrieve them. With every international mafia family is after the rings, the Angels must employ quick wits and sharp outfits to succeed.

Charlie’s Angels does three major things right: first, it’s extremely self-aware and absolves the audience of any inclination to take the film seriously. Charlie’s Angels doesn’t want to win an Oscar, it wants you to have a good time. From jokes about the number of screenwriters needed to make an action movie, to cameos by the Olsen Twins as next generation angels, to innumerable film references, the movie revels in its roots. Secondly, there is a lot of variety in the action sequences, which keeps things from ever getting boring. Where most action films are all gun battles and car chases, Charlie’s Angels has surfing, motorcross, street luge, martial arts, gun fights, and they do it all in high heels! Finally, and most importantly, the Angels inspire the audience. Who wants to be an angry Hulk or wear that funny-looking Daredevil outfit? Without the liability of a serious comic book behind it, Charlie’s Angels can toss aside the introspective melodrama and get back to action movie basics: having fun and kicking butt.And then there’s Demi Moore. Dear Lord. The 41-year-old mother of three looks absolutely stunning and holds her own in the film. She’s perfectly snooty and evil and, rumor has it that’s how she was on the set as well. Although, in Moore’s defense, the trio of Barrymore, Liu, and Diaz ooze cliquishness. Their best-friends-forever chemistry works great in the film, it’s like watching the behind-the-scenes moments of the most popular girls in school, but just like those cliques, it was probably not much fun to be around.Bernie Mac was entertaining as Bosley, but clearly holding back. Additionally, Alex (Lucy Liu) could benefit from having her character flushed out a little more. Dylan (Drew Barrymore) is the most well-established angel), and Cameron Diaz’s Natalie assumes the persona of all previous goofy-get-glamorous Diaz roles. Lucy Liu, is the other hand, is just the angel who gets the bad dialogue. all in all a great sequel, just a shame we never got a third outing.

 

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