D.E.B.S. (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/11/2004

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

First time director Angela Robinson’s spy-spoof-meets-teen-flick comedy is enormous fun and the coolest lesbian movie since Bound.

Writer-director Angela Robinson’s debut feature D.E.B.S. was a huge crowd-pleaser at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is set to repeat that success at the London Film Festival, if the reaction to the screening is anything to go by.

Robinson developed the feature from her own short by the same name and it’s safe to say that we’ll be hearing from her again – impressed by her debut, Disney have picked her to direct the remake of The Love Bug, starring Lindsay Lohan and Matt Dillon.

Discipline Energy Beauty Strength

D.E.B.S. opens with quick-fire scene-setting narration by Gravelly Voiceover Man that makes you think you’re watching a trailer; it explains that D.E.B.S. (an acronym for Discipline, Energy, Beauty and Strength) is an underground organisation of secret agents that recruits elite young women through the use of a test hidden in the S.A.T. exam. The current top squad includes “perfect score girl” Amy (Sara Foster), tough-talking group leader Max (Meagan Goode), ditzy goodie-goodie Janet (Jill Ritchie) and chain-smoking French sex-fiend Dominique (Devon Aoki, from 2 Fast 2 Furious).

The squad (kitted out in regulation skimpy schoolgirl outfits which include ultra-short plaid skirts) are assigned to stake out Evil Mastermind Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster) after the academy discovers she is due to meet a Russian assassin named Ninotchka (Jessica Cauffiel). However, it turns out that Lucy is actually on a blind date and when Amy comes face-to-face with Lucy during a shoot-out, she finds herself more than a little flustered…

Robinson directs with a snappy sense of pace and the colourful production values are impressive, particularly given the film’s relatively low budget. The tone is appropriately campy and tongue-in-cheek but the film is careful enough to keep a straight face throughout and never resorts to mugging or cheap gags.

As a result, it’s frequently very funny and there are lots of nice throwaway jokes, such as Lucy’s inexplicable grudge against Australia, which she once “tried to drown”.

Acting Extremely Good

The acting is extremely good. Sara Foster makes an appealing lead and there’s surprisingly strong chemistry between her and Jordana Brewster (who’s very reminiscent of a young Demi Moore).

Jill Ritchie (who was also in the original short) gets most of the good lines (“Perfect score? Perfect whore, more like”) and there’s also good work from Devon Aoki and Holland Taylor as the school’s headmistress. Also notable is Jimmi Simpson as Lucy’s sidekick, who provides quality comic support and will doubtless go on to bigger things, as he has a bit of a Christian Slater thing going on.

In short, this is a likeable, well made, frequently hilarious flick that has obvious cult potential. It will inevitably draw comparisons to Charlie’s Angels, but it’s a lot more original than that makes it sound, largely because it treats its central relationship seriously and ends up being pleasingly subversive as a result. Highly recommended.

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D.E.B.S. (tbc)
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Content updated: 20/07/2018 18:47

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