Charlie's Angels didn't fall far from its dumbass tree.
Thursday, November 2, 2000
True to the dimwit spirit of the original TV show, Charlie''s Angels putters along for its appointed time (90 minutes) and ends with a thud. It''s a series of semi-connected, coming attractions for the movie. Three girls work as superpowered private detectives for a mysterious boss named Charlie. They''re in search of a kidnapped scientist who was working on software that allows digital cellular telephone call recognition, so that "no one will ever have privacy again." (Only movie stars really worry about this stuff. Whatever happened to the fate of the world--where''s the stolen A-bomb?)
As "Dylan," Drew Barrymore flashes her lucky inheritance, the Barrymore face that''s liquefied a century''s worth of moviegoers. And Cameron Diaz ("Natalie") once again acts like a toddler in rompers. The problem of casting Cameron Diaz in a movie based on a TV show that exemplified "jiggle television" should be obvious to any astute viewer who has seen Cameron Diaz sideways.
Once again, Lucy Liu ("Alex") is too fierce a woman warrior for the movies to figure out how to handle. When Liu disguises herself as a haughty masseuse, walking on villain Tim Curry''s back, I was reminded of a line from the Ginger Rogers movie, Roxie Hart: "I''ve never seen anything that looked less like Whistler''s Mother." Why can''t Curry get more alert for their scene together? If you can''t come alive for Lucy Liu, mister, you''re not ever going to come alive. And if "Best Midriff" becomes a category at the Oscars next year, Liu must certainly be remembered.
Sam Rockwell, as the kidnapee, has tried every which way to make it in the movies: badboy thug, hunky romantic lead and sensitive halfwit. No matter what Rockwell does, he''s never convincing--to television with him! Bill Murray as Bosley, the male assistant, has scenes chopped up and mixed like salad. Here, Murray never gets a chance to don his famous, inimitable comic look of dignity scorned. The sad part is, his dignity is well and truly scorned in this movie.
The director here is a hipster who calls himself "McG." McD is closer to it: Here''s Big Mac-level dialogue, Mickey D-style flagrant product placement, Ronald McDonald-style clowning. Here''s sloppy blue screen, and the usual digital zzzzz (oh, my shocked eyes! the bullets are swimming in slow motion--now that''s movie magic). I wasn''t expecting Grand Illusion here--just something at least as coherent as a Hong Kong actioner, or the dozens of spy movies this puppy rooted through. Anything but the dull moments of three women driving around in forced camaraderie, pretending to be delighted in one another''s company...anything but these criminal self-indulgences, here, such as the peculiar scripting used to work in Lucy Liu''s accordion and Drew Barrymore''s own squeeze, Tom Green. The final blow: a squashy ending of John Forsyth, literally phoning in his performance, saluting the girls as his "precious treasures."--eeeeyeccch! (Unless he''s referring indirectly to his residual checks from the "Charlie''s Angels" TV show...)