Charlie’s Angels (2000) — Cleavage and karate chops

“Never send a man to do a woman’s job.”

Justin’s rating: The Granny Troupe says, “Hoo-ray!”

Justin’s review: So I’m going back for my second viewing of this fantabulistic flick with Charlie’s Angels-virgin PoolMan, and we are both soon joined in the theater by what could only be described as the entire population of The Bogart Retirement Castle Home. Senior citizens were wheeled in en masse, preparing themselves to take in the film. When you can’t see The Maltese Falcon on AMC, Charlie’s Angels is a decent substitute, I guess.

The two ladies seated next to us were told by the attendant, I quote, “Stay here and do not run away. Okay? You’re glued to the seat.” In the front row, one of the wheelchair-bound stared up at the blank screen and asked, “Has the movie started? Am I going blind?” So serious was it, that PoolMan and I had minor bladder control problems when choking down laughter. All in all, a great bunch of people to view this movie alongside of us, and we’re proud to make them all honorary Mutants.

Since I saw it twice in theaters, you can probably guess that CA is a 12-piece KFC bucket of fun. When you stop and think of it, there’s little originality to be found; movies blatantly ripped off include The Matrix and Mission: Impossible. Yet it’s soaked with pure fun — there are no set movie rules they’re trying to follow except the cardinal one of always keeping us entertained.

First off, Bill Murray. Can you name a BAD movie Murray’s been in? Shh… that’s hyperbole, not a personal challenge. I would see Shakespeare if Murray is in it, and if you knew me, that’s a major miracle. He’s Bosley, the (male) fourth Angel who pits his bewildered antics against his inept nature. When the film gets to a montage of Bosley in his prison cell, we are no longer asking “Where did he get the baseball and glove?” but merely guffawing at the Man Formerly Known As Venkman.

There’s little CA won’t do to keep you happy: F1 racers in a street chase scene. Helicopters, airplanes, speed boats, and at one point, a scooter. Tom Green, who just stares and it’s funny. Flashbacks to previous and non-existent episodes. Some really, really awesome fight scenes, one in which Drew Barrymore (Drew Barrymore?) steals the show. Cameron Diaz dancing without a care in the world. And Crispen Glover (Crispen Glover?) who proves that George McFly is done being picked on for good. He smokes a lot, so you know that he’s a Bad Dude.

For all of us there are certain key elements that, if met, instantly deem a movie a success. For me, one of these elements is involving a dance sequence with “Baby Got Back” as the track. Oh, yes. (Ed. note: PoolMan might deny the popcorn incident, but you have to remember he’s Canadian, and popcorn is a luxury Canucks do not have.)

PoolMan’s rating: I’d like to submit Andie as an honourary Angel!

PoolMan’s review: Ah, a distinct honour… I’m sitting in Justin’s Chair, typing on Justin’s keyboard, living in Justin’s apartment, and… HEY! He’s drinking MY beer! Dammit, that was never part of the deal, Mendoza! Mendoooooozaaaaaaaa!!!

Okay, okay, I’ll just pour one for myself. And get on with the review. So, what does one say when one sits through a couple of hours of three good-looking women bouncing around in skimpy outfits fighting different maniacal badguys using great special effects and flaunting lots of good laughs? Well, truth be told, what more needs to be said?

Never mind the fact that the theater was filled with elderly people who were confused as to whether the movie had actually started, I was laughing at the flick itself. One of my early nervous fears about Charlie’s Angels was that they wouldn’t hit the right style. I mean, what do you do with a cult TV classic that really rested on the laurels of Farah Fawcett’s boobs for twenty years? Do you make a serious action film? Is it comedy? If so, is it campy, or a little straighter? Seriously, there were so many places where this one could have fallen through the cracks, but it just didn’t. It managed to kick ass in most departments without any real lacking points!

I’ll get into trouble if I spend too much time elaborating on the gorgeous stars (someone keeps tipping my girlfriend off when I talk about women… frankly, I suspect Clare). It’s true, they went for jiggle and giggle, but they did it well, and I laughed the whole way through. But a lot of credit goes to the supporting cast… Bill Murray turns in a good couple of laughs, as does Tim Curry. Although I weep for the fact that they both lack sufficient screen time. Thankfully, though, they get to duel in the grandest of fashions… puffy suit sumo!

Argh… I’m having trouble writing this. Justin’s listening to the Daily Show really loud, and keeps dropping his pants without warning to stroll around in his boxer shorts. No kidding. So forgive me if I seem a little off. I’m just recovering from two nights already spent on the air mattress, and there’s four more to go. I think I’m getting high off the vinyl fumes. Woohoooo…

So straying back towards the point, I laughed my ass off, and had a great time with the local senior citizens in Plymouth, MI. Be sure to catch the Angels, and bring your grandma’s friends! (And be sure to drop Justin an e-mail asking him why it took four paragraphs to get to any mention whatsoever of women lower than the age of 80.)

Andie’s rating: 5 out of 5 super cool drags from Crispin Glover’s cigarette

Andie’s review: This movie kicks so much ass, I can’t even begin to describe it! It is a fantastic action movie: cool plot, awesome good guys, scary bad guys, great humor and it totally makes fun of itself in a groovy way. How anyone could not like this movie is beyond me because it is fantastic! Also, I’m really sick and tired of hearing the whines of “Oh, it’s a Matrix ripoff… boohoo… they used the same moves… wahwah.” That’s crap. Once The Matrix used the technology, then it’s free to everyone else to use too. If we employed this messed up principle across the board, the only movie that would be in color would be Gone with the Wind. People sure as hell didn’t complain that Oz was a technicolor rip off of Tara, now did they?

Okay, I’ll climb down off my soapbox so I can actually review this movie. One of the main reasons I think this is so great is that the Angels are actually damn good role models for young girls and that is what we need more around here. They beat up bad guys without using anything but their hands. No guns for these ladies. They’re also human. Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz are pretty thin, but Drew Barrymore is a nice-sized girl, that’s what I like to see. I also love how Cameron Diaz goes around dancing like a freak all the time, that is so me! And Bill Murray as Bosley was a terrific casting move, I’ve been waiting for him to do something truly funny for awhile now and he does a great job. I’m also completely infatuated with Crispin Glover now. I don’t care that he’s freaky and weird in real life, he is sexy as all hell in this movie. I never thought George McFly could make smoking look so damn cool.

The plot is typical James Bond type stuff. Big Bad Corporation gets its hands on technology that could destroy the world, oh no! So the three Angels swoop in to get the technology back. And there’s plot twists and stuff. I have a favorite scene for each Angel. My favorite Alex scene is the infiltration of the Big Bad Corporation. Seeing Lucy Liu wield a whip while wearing leather with the song “Barracuda” in the background is fantastic. My favorite Dylan scene is where Drew Barrymore makes an unexpected landing in the backyard of some unsuspecting little boys. I was almost crying I was laughing so hard. And my favorite Angel, Natalie, is the absolute best when she gets to be on Soul Train. Watching waifishly thin Cameron Diaz shake her nonexistant butt to “Baby Got Back” is priceless.

This is a great movie, I will probably go see it again before it leaves the theaters. It has everything you could ask for in a popcorn action movie. Go see it. Now. Ooooh, Barracuda!

Clare’s rating: HI-YA!

Clare’s review: I heard someone say that they didn’t want to go see Charlie’s Angels because they thought it would be super cheesy and lame. I say, your fears of cheesiness and lamosity are well founded since the original series from the ’70’s was chock full of Shakespearean quality writing and the acting and story lines were always so deeply moving and thought provoking. It’s CHARLIE’S ANGELS for crikes sake. It’s cleavage and karate chops. It’s tight clothes and tae kwon do. It’s jiggles and jujitsu. It’s three beautiful women with different colored hair placed gingerly into various settings wherein sexy outfits are required before the ass kicking can commence. It’s smashing and punching and mid-air kick splits as a form of hard core flirting, and I’m telling you, it’s hella fun.

This movie works on two levels.

Level number one is what I affectionately refer to as Cleveland (get it? Cleve Land. see? Clare made a funny pun… oh never mind!) It’s boobs galore as all three Angels are pushed up, down and all around into a dizzying array of dresses, tiny t-shirts, body suits, bathing suits and bed sheets. They defy gravity, they confuse the enemy and I believe there should have been six extra credits listed at the end of this film, just to give the smaller angels their due. So yeah, all three ladies are stacked and they know how to work the goods. You can try to argue with me about why that could possibly be a bad thing, but you’d be wrong.

Level number two is basically what makes this Charlie’s Angels different from the original series. Since the ’70’s it has slowly and thankfully become not only ok, but down right admirable if a beautiful babe also has the cajones necessary to kill with her bare hands. The fight sequences are fast-paced, well shot, interesting, funny and impressive. I grew up with movies wherein some bad dude would come into a scene to do bad dude stuff and if there wasn’t another dude there to take care of the situation, the girl in danger would just kind of stand there and whine helplessly or smash the bad guy over the head with a big vase and then collapse from the exertion. Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu take care of business all by themselves here and they ain’t foolin’ around. That didn’t make me feel inadequate or dumpy. That made me feel like deep down inside there’s a Charlie’s Angel in every woman (cue sappy Oprah music here) just waiting to round house kick her way out.

In addition to the two tiered assault on the senses this movie has in buckets, there’s also Crispin Glover who I think should win some kind of award for his hilarious, perfect, campy, amazing performance here. Who would have thought that some dramatic eyebrow waxing and a couple of fake contacts could turn sweet unassuming George McFly into one cool killing cucumber? Plus, he makes smoking look super slick and if that’s not a bold statement in this day and age, I’m not sure what is. And let’s take a moment to recognize that Charlie’s Angels is, clearly, the great cosmic pay back that Bill Murray so richly deserves. The fact that the “frolicking with the see-through shirt wearing Angels on the beach” scene at the end was purely gratuitous is almost unnoticeable when you realize that Bill Murray’s been around for decades, making us laugh and love and dream and damn it, he deserves a little sexy mama action even at this late date. Here here I say!

So yeah, besides the fact that I find Cameron Diaz mild to moderately annoying on a practically constant basis and the fact that I still can’t figure out what LL Cool J is doing in this movie, I thought it was perfect Saturday afternoon fare.

Kyle’s rating: A remake of a show from the ’70s? I’ve never heard of that! What a good idea!

Kyle’s review: I love writing Mutant reviews and frankly I don’t plan on leaving until Justin himself drives out to my palatial imitation CA home and bashes my computer and all my fingers. However, I do not enjoy being the fifth Mutant to review a film. What more can be said? Plus five is an unlucky number for me for reasons I won’t go into but involve my ex-girlfriend, an empty milk carton and the five points of a pentagram. But I’m here to do my best, so I shall!

Like Justin and Poolman and Andie and Clare before me, I have to say Charlie’s Angels is fabulous cleavagetastic fun. I walked into the theater thinking I was going to regret this movie choice even more than I regretted certain itchy body piercings. But lo and behold I was amused! Amused big-time! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t think much of this leading trio of chicks, because true be told I don’t think much of Drew Barrymore or Lucy Liu or Cameron Diaz. I don’t think much of anyone here except Bill Murray, Tim Curry and that occasionally entertaining Luke Wilson guy. But I will admit this trio of powerful gals made for adequate Angels in a colorful and stylish eye-candy-filled film that requires its heroes to be marginally charismatic. If you do like these gals, good for you! You’ll love this film! All three get their chance to shine, and Bill Murray makes sure everything runs nice and smooth when necessary. It’s grrrr-reat!

If you missed it in theaters, it’ll be a great rent whenever it comes out. The bonus is you’ll get an enjoyable visual booty call whether you’re looking for boobage slippage or assessing pop culture value. Don’t you just love our modern permissive atmosphere that encourages immediate self-fulfillment? Bless you Charlie for assembling your Angels, though in my humble opinion you might consider a few cooler chicks the next time out, yeah?

Didja Notice?

  • The film’s martial arts choreographer and trainer appers as a fellow passenger on the plane in first class at the start of the film. He can be seen speaking in Mandarin to two pretty women.
  • In the scene where Drew Barrymore’s character “drops in” on two kids playing video games, it’s the same house used in E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, which co-starred Drew Barrymore.
  • The end credits are worth sticking around for, particularly the outtakes
  • Final Fantasy VIII! Not as good as VII, though!

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