Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu
Running Time: 98 mins
Charlie’s Angels is an American film about three women who battle against evil using their computer and martial arts skills, as well as their charm in the name of a mysteriously anonymous boss known only as Charlie.
Although Mission Impossible stands strong as an effective modern reboot of a classic TV series, Charlie’s Angels is an example of the countless others of the late 90s that didn’t work. Despite attempting to do right by retaining a zany 70s vibe, this film is a painfully dull and underwhelming watch, full of phoned-in performances, a predictable plot, uninteresting action and properly unfunny comedy.
However, as much as I disliked this film, I have to say that I admire its attempts to make everything work whilst retaining a similar pantomime tone to the original 70s TV show. In the end, it may not have worked out, but rather than going for a dull, hardcore reboot like so many other movies of the time, it was a nice change to see Charlie’s Angels try something different, and be as zany and ridiculous as its source material.
Unfortunately, that is the only real positive I can draw from this film. As hard as it does try to be a fun and campy action/buddy comedy, there’s very little to like about this film, most particularly in the way it’s delivered.
McG’s attempts to bring across the glee and fun of the 70s vibe are short-lived, as they’re hurt by the poor writing and acting. However, it’s still hugely disappointing to see how he goes about the whole affair, as the film feels incredibly muddled under his direction between its silliness and story.
All of the comedic sequences make the film as camp as possible, whereas when we focus more on uncovering the people behind the crime, or the odd martial arts fight sequence, the film loses its utterly ridiculous vibe. It’s impossible to tell whether one or the other is the best way forward, but the jarring moves from the hyper-camp comedy to somewhat less silly story and action sequences are incredibly frustrating throughout.
What’s more is that the action itself isn’t that entertaining to watch. Although featuring what should be ridiculous martial arts sparring, the way each action sequence looks makes them feel a lot duller. The camera isn’t as hyper as it should be, and simply showing someone being kicked further or harder than normal isn’t enough to bring across the ultra-silly vibe, which was again very underwhelming to see.
Finally, the performances here are very disappointing too. Provided with a mediocre script, the A-list cast doesn’t have so much to work with here, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they all really seem to be phoning it in. Diaz, Barrymore and Liu don’t have any real chemistry together in the leading trio (worsened by their spending more time apart than together), and their attempts to bring across the pantomime humour of the film are always more annoying than funny.
Overall, I really didn’t take to Charlie’s Angels. Although starting off with noble intentions in trying to retain the original show’s zany vibes, this film falls completely flat with underwhelming action, muddled direction, a dull story, and some very disappointing performances, and that’s why I’m giving it a 4.7.