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Rated 2.95 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
These ANGELS Soar
by Betty Jo Tucker

Three gorgeous actresses, lots of dynamite action, and some very humorous situations make Charlie’s Angels a treat to watch. Not being a fan of the television series, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in this fast-paced movie version of that ‘70s show.

These talented leading ladies not only display amazing physical abilities but also make the private investigators they portray seem quite human. Effervescent Natalie (Diaz) dreams about being a dancer, and Diaz absolutely sparkles in two lively production numbers. The intelligent Dylan (Barrymore) can’t resist nerdy men. Barrymore projects a hard-to-resist charm of her own in this role --- even while defeating a group of thugs in an elaborate kick-boxing confrontation with her hands tied behind her back. Alex (Liu), the most daring member of the trio, wants desperately to be a good cook. Revealing a terrific flair for comedy, Liu is hilarious in scenes depicting Alex’s hopeless efforts to out-do Martha Stewart.

When Charlie (voiced again by John Forsythe) assigns his Angels a case involving kidnapped computer ace Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), they willingly put aside their private lives. Aided by Charlie’s chief lieutenant Bosley ( Bill Murray), the courageous women use high-tech tools, martial arts techniques, and outlandish disguises to solve this mysterious kidnapping. Their motivation becomes even more intense after discovering that their failure will result in Charlie’s death.

Making his feature film debut, director McG feels strongly about the importance of the new Charlie’s Angels. He believes the film’s message is "Don’t think because I’m beautiful I can’t go out and make it happen in a ‘man’s world.’ Because it’s no longer a ‘man’s world,’ it’s everybody’s world."

McG, an award-winning commercial and music video director, is the one responsible for that wonderful "Gap Country" Spot featuring khaki-wearing dancers. Bringing the same energy and excitement to Charlie’s Angels, he won admiration from Barrymore, who served also as one of the film’s producers. She credits McG’s direction for bringing out the best the Angels had to offer. "He drove us to be tougher and smarter and have a better time than we would have had without his influence and energy and passion and enthusiasm," Barrymore insists. "He constantly made us go the distance and push ourselves further, and that is what the Angels of 2000 are."

Also contributing to the film’s entertainment quality are its intriguing villains. Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Kelly Lynch and Sam Rockwell vie with each other for "best bad guy" performance here. Curry (Congo) oozes snobbery as the owner of a telecommunications satellite network. Glover (The Doors) wields a sword with the best of them to protect his boss, the duplicitous Knox. As played by Rockwell, Knox can’t match the evil of the psychopath this actor portrayed in The Green Mile, but he comes close. Lynch (Mr. Magoo) holds her own as Knox’s assistant, a seductress who will kill anyone to achieve her goals.

The only weakness in Charlie’s Angels comes whenever Tom Green (Road Trip) appears on screen. He just seems to be reading his lines as one of Barrymore’s unexciting boyfriends. Thankfully, he’s only in two sequences.

Charlie’s Angels steals from James Bond movies, Mission Impossible, The Matrix, and Jackie Chan films. But everything is put together in a way that seems fresh and new. So, watch out, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, et al. Although the action movie is the last bastion of the male star, Charlie’s Angels should change all that.

(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "PG-13" for action violence, innuendo, and some sensuality/nudity.)

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