out of five
Affectionately knowing update of the iconic 70s TV show 'a big dumb movie', but in the nicest possible way.
Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu (surely destined for stardom after this) star as Dylan, Alex and Natalie, or Charlie's Angels: The New Generation. Charlie is still unseen, still communicates by 70s-style
speakerphone, and is still voiced by John Forsythe.
Bosley, however, is now played by Bill Murray, and although there are several nods towards the original show (notably in the amusing title sequence, the gloriously
over-the-top costume changes and the running 'hair-flick' gag, the rest of the movie also throws in hefty doses of James Bondian double-entendre and gadgetry, and Matrix-style kung fu fight sequences.
In short, this is the enjoyably dumb action movie that Mission Impossible could (and should) have been.
Plot, you say? Are you sure? Well, if you insist. The Angels are hired to find a kidnapped millionaire (Sam Rockwell), and to find out if industrialist Tim Curry (the words 'Tim' and 'Curry' are never a good sign for a movie, but thankfully he's not in it all that much) has stolen his voice-recognition software.
Naturally, all is not as it first appears and the Angels soon find themselves up against Kelly Lynch's villainess (you can tell she's evil, she has the worst hair-do) and Crispin Glover's eerie 'Thin Man'. Meanwhile, all three Angels fail miserably in their attempts to hold down normal relationships Matt LeBlanc, Tom Green and Luke Wilson (the latter two being co-producer Barrymore's current and ex-boyfriends) all cameo as the Angels‚ nice-but-dim boyfriends.
There is a lot to enjoy here: highlights include Diaz's weird morning-ritual bottom-dance, Liu posing as a corporate dominatrix, and Barrymore's wiping out of a roomful of goons while tied to a chair - perhaps the most enjoyable fight sequence of the year. Sadly, Bill Murray is disappointing and practically sleepwalks through his role, though he does get a couple of funny scenes.
Ultimately, Charlie's Angels works because it refuses to take itself
seriously, and yet still delivers all the requisite action and comedy with a straight face. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the utterly bizarre yodelling scene, which has to be seen to be believed. All credit then, to video director McG (you'd shorten your name too, if it was Joseph McGinty Nichol) for getting the tone just right and maintaining the balance of skimpy outfits and high-kicking kung-fu action.
In other words, this won't be winning any awards come Oscar-time, but as
cheesy Saturday night entertainment it delivers in spades. Don't rule out a sequel!