Charlies Angels (2000)

CHARLIES ANGELS, the latest long sit of an already ass-taxing sea-
son, isn't *quite* as groan-inducing as the source material sug-
gests.  The pace is super-zippy, the cast is relaxed to the point 
of appearing rehearsing, and director McG's tongue is held firmly 
in cheek as he brazenly combines high camp with higher style.  The 
problem, though, is the one we've known about since production was 
announced:  the leads are lame.  Oh, I suppose flawed beauty Cam-
eron Diaz is a near-memorable bouncy presence; it's Drew Barrymore 
and Lucy Liu who lack the requisite smart 'n' sexy air.  Ms. Drew 
resembles a bloated, red-headed Morticia Addams, while Liu has 
lovely bones and basically zero screen presence.  That is, 'cept 
for one funny dominatrix-style management-education bit.  These 
are the best (young) leading ladies that contemporary cinema has 
to offer?

The plot has something to do with the kidnapping of a Bill Gates-
type software guy and his dangerous new voice-recognition program.  
Well, with accompanying hair-tossing, car-chasing, tighter-than-
tight outfits, and numerous MATRIX-style, slow mo-accenuated mar-
tial-arts sequences.  (The latter are fun, though not edited for 
nearly enough visceral-- or even satirical-- impact.)  Supporting 
roles are fleshed by such familiar faces as Crispin Glover and Tim 
Curry (bad guys), a vacant Tom Green (barf-able love interest), 
and a supremely well-cast Bill Murray as the unflappably flappable 
"Bosley."  They add a little life to this otherwise (and surpris-
ingly) flat film.  Very, very few spontaneous laughs in this one, 
most of which are Murray's.  Like the unforgettable sight of him 
wearing a white, Richard Petty-style cowboy hat while impersonat-
ing the member of a pit crew.  

And at least one of the *Angels'* disguises is funny beyond likely 
intention, when Drew Barrymore disguises herself as a businessman 
(complete with facial hair!) and ends up looking disconcertingly 
like one James Spader.  Yikes!  The running time is a mercifully 
brief 98 minutes and if there isn't even a *half* hour of compel-
ling material here, it passes painlessly enough.  Like a good bow-
el movement.  I passed the time creating anagrams of Presidential 
candidates and listening with bewilderment to the laughter of oth-
ers.  Maybe it's a target-audience thing...  Albert Gore: Gator 
Rebel, Globe Rater, Rote Garble, Realtor Beg; George W. Bush: Bo-
gus Grew He, Brew Gush Ego, Bush Wore Egg, Wee Grub Gosh; Pat Bu-
chanan: Paunch Ban At, Nab Tuna Chap, NAACP Hut Ban; Ralph Nader:  
Ran Led Harp, Herr DNA Pal, Darn Her Lap.  With Kelly Lynch, Luke 
Wilson, Sam Rockwell, and, of course, the voice of John Forsythe. 
(Rated "PG-13"/90 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros