Charlie's Angels

Directed by McG
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Tim Curry, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover, and the voice of John Forsythe.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, innuendo and some sensuality/nudity.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
November 5, 2000

Finally, the wait is over. The film version of the late-1970s TV show "Charlie's Angels" has hit the screen after nearly two years of constant buzz. There was talk of friction between the castmembers, and the debacle of shooting without a finished script, yet with countless writers working on the project. It's big-time Hollywood, baby, and this is what it's all about: the opening weekend. It will undoubtedly be the film to knock Meet the Parents out of its four-week reign atop the box office. It's a shame, really, since it's such a horrible mess of a movie.

As before, an anonymous voice on a speaker phone named Charlie (John Forsythe) commands a trio of beautiful women who work as detectives/crime-fighters. The dumb blonde one is Natalie (Cameron Diaz). The feisty redhead is Dylan (Drew Barrymore). To round things out, there is Alex (Lucy Liu), an ass-kicking Asian. Charlie's liaison with his "Angels" is Bosley (Bill Murray), the bumbling dolt.

In what wonderful, wacky adventure do they get mixed up? Well, let me tell you. They are hired to rescue software entrepreneur Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), who was kidnapped and had his new voice-recognition program stolen. The suspect is rival Roger Corwin (Tim Curry), who owns a company that makes GPS satellites, and could use the software to make each cell phone in the world a global tracking device. Alright Angels, this is your mission if you choose to accept it. This message will self-destruct in five sec...

Whoops! Wrong show! Or is it? MTV spawn McG (the pretentious nomme d'plume of Joseph McGinty Mitchell) has basically turned "Charlie's Angels" into a John Woo film, not unlike Mission: Impossible 2. However, this is a weak imitation of Woo, with a little Matrix thrown in, but not as a reference, mind you. No, this is outright theft. Obviously, he couldn't steal directly from M:I-2, but the basic style is there without a crucial element: sensibility.

Trying to break down the plot would be futile. Charlie's Angels is a pure action picture. Upon viewing it, I can see that the absence of a screenplay was not a major hindrance. What little is there still cannot manage to hold it together. It's a big music video for the soundtrack album, with these highly-paid leading ladies shoving their physical assets into the camera. Nothing resembling acting talent was needed here, even though plenty was available. Here's a thought to put it all in perspective: the film is so unstable, even Bill Murray was stifled.

Of course, nothing I say will matter. All this gossip will drive people to the theatres out of pure curiosity. I pretty much got out of the viewing experience what I expected from it, with one interesting exception. I now see that the state of special effects has risen to such an incredible level that even Crispin Glover can look like a martial arts expert. That revelation alone may have been worth the price of admission, but now that I have shared it with the internet community, you can save your money.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Charlie's Angels (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Charlie's Angels (2000) -- VHS
Charlie's Angels (2000) -- DVD
Charlie's Angels: Music from the Motion Picture -- Compact Disc


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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan