Charlie's Angels (15)

Review by Jack Foley

DVD EXTRAS: Welcome to Angel World Featurette; Angelic Attire Featurette; Getting G'd Up (Director McG) Featurette; The Master and the Angels (martial arts/stunts) Featurette; Angelic Effects (Special FX) Featurette; Wired Angels - Chinese Alley Scene Deconstruction; 3 Deleted/Extended Scenes with intro from McG outtakes; Destiny's Child/Apollo 440 Music Videos; Feature Length Commentary; 5 Trailers; Weblink; Filmographies; Animated Menus; Languages: English, Hungarian; Subtitles: English, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Dutch, Bulgarian, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Arabic

ARRIVING in the wake of several other successful TV series turned movies (Mission Impossible, The Fugitive, etc), Charlie's Angels is a shallow yet frequently enjoyable romp featuring the divine talents of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.

Inspired by the popular TV series which ran from 1976 to 1981, the movie manages to evoke memories of the cheesy, care-free nature of the period at the same time as belonging to the same kick-arse culture inspired by The Matrix.

As such, slow motion action, bullet time photography and OTT kung fu sequences combine to make sure that plot and characterisation (concerning murder, revenge and a threat to individual privacy) take a distant back seat to the high concept set pieces.

Sound awful? It should be, but what Charlie's Angels lacks in subtlety or originality, it more than makes up for in charm and wit - for director McG's movie has its tongue planted firmly in the principles' breasts and never allows itself to be taken seriously. And as a result, he has achieved that rare type of action movie - the kind which will appeal to the girls as much as the guys and one which sticks a pair of breasts where a set of balls have traditionally been!

Producer Leonard Goldberg, who was also executive producer of the original series, said he wanted his new-look Angels to make the men say, 'I want to be with her' and the women say 'I want to be like her', and, to a certain extent, succeeds.

His cast ooze sex appeal, toying with the audience in between kicking some serious butt. For if Barrymore's wild child Dylan, all pouting, kissable lips (and, yes, they are mentioned!) fails to do it for you, then there's Liu's leather-clad Alex or Diaz's sweet Natalie - the pick of the bunch for me.

All three bring a great deal of charisma (and cleavage!) to the proceedings, doing much to gloss over rumours of on-set rivalry, while in Bill Murray's deadpan Bosley (playing as a sort of fourth 'Angel'), they have the perfect foil to their antics - a type of sugar daddy who manages to remain cool despite a proven ability to get things wrong. Some great (albeit brief) support from the likes of Matt Le Blanc, Tom Green, Luke Wilson (as the Angels' love interests), John Forsythe (reprising his role as the voice of Charlie) and even Tim Curry also help to enliven proceedings.

Not that McG needs much help to keep things moving - for it's easy to tell that the director is a veteran of acclaimed music videos (he did Smashmouth's 'Walking On The Sun') and commercials (he was awarded First Place Honour at the London International Film Festival for his 'Gap Country' Spot featuring khaki-wearing dancers) given the movie's inability to stand still.

Dialogue acts as a mere prelude to the next action sequence, all of which are set to a thumping soundtrack which combines the worst of the Eighties (Spandau Ballet, Kung Fu Fighting, etc) with some nice nods to the late Nineties/early Zeroes.

Hence, tracks such as The Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up', Blur's 'Song 2' and Fatboy Slim's 'Ya Mama' serve to turn proceedings into a collection of pop videos guaranteed to appeal to the MTV-generation while acting as a severe turn off for the more discerning viewer.

Not that this is a bad thing, for the Angels were never meant to be Oscar contenders, more a crowd-pleasing triple act whose energy is infectious.

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