Charlie's Angels
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

OK, I have to admit I kinda liked this movie. It's not good. Actually, it's pretty bad but the three actresses (Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz), who play Charlie's Angels, infuse the movie with a certain joie de vivre that makes it fun to watch.  The main thing they do here is to laugh at themselves.  The original Charlie's Angels while campy was not a comedy. The new version is definitely a satire of the original.  And like most movies, they didn't waste a lot of money on the script.  The setup is identical to its 1970's predecessor.  The angels are in the employ of the mysterious Charlie Townsend, who I am happy to say, still has the voice of John Forsythe.  Bosley is back too, this time played by Bill Murray.  While this film gets the most out of its female stars, Murray, who has shown off the fact that he is a comedy god in such films as Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Rushmore,  is sadly wasted here.  The plot of Charlie's Angels is just a minor hindrance to the action.  The Agency is hired by the president (Kelly Lynch) of a whose founder (Sam Rockwell) and his software have both been kidnapped.  The bad guy, supposedly, is one of their competitors (Tim Curry) but early on we discover that it was all a setup.  This way we can have a black-leather-clad bad guy (Lynch) fighting a black-leather-clad good guy (Liu) at the end of the movie.  Actually, the best action sequence happens near the beginning of the film when the three angels fight the bad guys' slimy henchman (Crispin Glover).  This fight sequence is based amusingly on The Matrix.  Some of the comedy bits work better than others. In the first scene on an airplane, they are watching, ``TJ Hooker, The Movie.''  A whole lot of screen time is wasted setting up and then doing a very unfunny and vaguely racist scene where Diaz appears on Soul Train.  Diaz is definitely the weakest of the three angels.  I really don't understand her appeal.  On the other hand, Barrymore, who also produced the movie, does a great job and Liu, best known as Ling on Ally McBeal, is good too. Glover, who recently crawled out from whatever rock he was hiding under for Nurse Betty, is perfect for the role of the henchman.  Lynch and Rockwell are pretty boring bad guys.  Also, I'm not sure that Charlie's Angels isn't an important addition to the post-feminist canon.  As the New York Times said in its review, ``Its three heroines ... are meant to appeal both to teenage girls, who will admire their professionalism and fighting spirit, and to teenage boys, who will find other things about them to admire.''  This is the dichotomy of the characters in this film where today's 21st century woman is as capable and tough as a man but must remember to put on her makeup and shop at Victoria's Secret.  The subtext here is that men don't find capable women attractive and so they must overcompensate  by wearing lipstick and wonderbras.  Anyway, this is all on display in Charlie's Angels. All the while they are saving the world, the super-genius angels seem to be more interested in getting dates with low-grade morons.  The message is all too clear.  They can have black belts in Karate or Ph.D.'s in Nuclear Physics but if they don't have a date for Friday night, they are worthless.