Charlie's Angels

Directed by Joseph McGinty
Written by Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, John August
Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu


Charlie's Angels

Let's not be snobs. The film is fun to watch. No one can deliver a double-entendre with anything like the straight-faced innocence of Cameron Diaz, no one has the childlike openness of Drew Barrymore's non-sequiturs; and Lucy Liu -- well, Liu belongs in a better film, because comedy isn't her strong point.

Nevertheless, this film -- not an update or a return to the ancient TV series as some have said, but more a parody of it -- gives good laughs. Not all that many, but just enough to keep our interest. No pretense is made of believability, which is a plus. Charlie still talks to his angels through a state-of-the-art 1961 tabletop speaker, as the 'girls' sit around on sofas and listen to him and his surrogate Bosley (Bill Murray) describe the latest impossible job to be done.

This time the job is saving a Bill Gates-like nerd (Sam Rockwell) from the industrial espionage of his rival, except that there is a double-cross coming, and if you can't see it a half hour before the Angels do you probably won't get Diaz's line to the FedEx man to "slip it in my slot anytime" either.

The film gives us a good deal of derring-do, with lots of martial arts, including Liu climbing walls and flying, a la "Matrix," but the plot is as ancient as the supposed castle on the Ventura coast where prisoners are held and must be rescued by sea (don't ask). Enjoy the opening sequence that starts in an airliner at 35,000 feet and ends in a speedboat somewhere below. The sheer impossibility of the stunt sets the tone of the whole film, and helps us mightily to suspend our disbelief. "Charlie's Angels" is more than anything else a kind of gender-reversed update on the 007 films, and as such it's a small but honest pleasure.    

Click here to return to Movies 101