Directed by: McG
Written by:Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, John August
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Kelly Lynch, Luke Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Matt LeBlanc, Tom Green
Released: November 23, 2000
Grade: B

Charlie’s Angels stands for everything I loathe in cinema and given the trailers, I was primed to dish out a lethal review.  It’s been rehashed from a TV show, has a screenplay cornier than Batman & Robin and requires no consciousness to understand.  Yet, with is fast pace, dazzling colours and luscious ladies, it was a compelling viewing experience.  I dare not look yet I cannot turn away.

It kicks off from the opening scene when we see Natalie (Diaz), Dylan (Barrymore) and Alex (Liu) defuse an impossible situation aboard an airliner.  They come from varied backgrounds but have been recruited by the reclusive Charlie to carry out world-saving assignments.  Their contact with Charlie is through “middleman” Bosley (Murray) who is little more than an aging womaniser.

The latest assignment will be a tough one.  They are approached by vixen Vivian Wood (Lynch) when a millionaire scientist, Eric Knox (Rockwell), is kidnapped.  Knox had developed a revolutionary computer program with the ability to remember and replicate any voice it hears.  In the wrong hands, it could be used to manipulate global satellites and throw the world into chaos.  Oh no!

The Angels’ are hungry for some lovin’ but have to forego relationships with their boyfriends (Tom Green, Luke Wilson and Matt LeBlanc) until they track down the kidnappers and generally “kick ass”.  If you wish to continue, please read on.

Bottom line, you can’t describe Charlie’s Angels without using “popcorn” and “movie” together in the same sentence - you know exactly what you’re in for when you buy that ticket.  The strongest feature comes from the brisk pace it sets.  Action is prominent and time is not wasted on trivial side characters, awful dialogue and attempts to bring authenticity to the script (a pitfall many recent action films have fallen victim too).

Diaz, Barrymore and Liu must have had a ball and their effervescence shows.  Instead of playing perfect tough gals, they show a hilarious ditsy side in many scenes with particular praise going to Cameron Diaz.  They know it’s all for fun and don’t try to take it any further.  Disappointingly, more wasn’t made of Bill Murray.  The comedic genius seemed too tightly bound by the script and Murray wasn’t given the flexibility to show his great talent, improvisation.

First-time director Joseph McGinty Nichol is simply known in the credits as McG and I’m at a loss to understand why.  His direction of Charlie’s Angels shows he has talent though and his boldness should be rewarded with future projects.  Credit is also due to the special effects team and editors Peter Teschner and Wayne Wahrman who have created the best action sequences since The Matrix.

This is not the sort of film I endorse nor would I see it a second time.  Still, if tacky action films need be made you may as well go the whole way and Charlie’s Angels fits the bill.  Given its huge success in the United States and the lack of decent scripts, one feels a sequel will be just around the corner.  I may save my scathing review for then.