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With: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, Tom Green, LL Cool J, Sean Whalen, John Forsythe (voice)
Written by: Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon, John August, based on the TV series created by Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts
Directed by: McG
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, innuendo and some sensuality/nudity
Running Time: 98
Date: 10/22/2000

Charlie's Angels (2000)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Undercover and Outta Sight

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

We all have certain expectations for movies, especially movies as heavily advertised as Charlie's Angels. But sometimes, very rarely, we go to these movies and in the first five minutes our expectations are put aside. Charlie's Angels is one of those times. It rocks.

The first five minutes of Charlie's Angels involve a bomb on a plane, L.L. Cool J, some amazing parachuting, a speedboat, and an explosion, though not necessarily in that order. These events perfectly set up the rules for Charlie's Angels, a movie that basically has no rules. The only exception is that a fall from any height won't hurt you, so long as you're jumping to avoid an explosion of some kind.

Charlie's Angels is, of course, based on the popular 1970's TV series, which I can't ever remember actually watching. I must have seen it at least once though, because I recognize the little opening narration that introduces the three girls to us (played by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu). The opening titles include lots of throwaway shots of the team in action, presumably from "previous" adventures, that also help set the tone of the movie. We're dealing with three super-babes who have been heavily trained in everything from paratrooping to race car driving to Matrix like slo-mo kung-fu. Plus they can cook and dance. Plus they're gorgeous. So anything goes.

The script, by the team of Ryan Rowe (The Love Bug & Tapeheads), Ed Solomon (the Bill and Ted movies), and John August (Go), throws in just about everything under the sun. The plot concerns a wealthy computer genius (Sam Rockwell) whose voice-tracking software has been stolen. The Angels are hired to get it back, only there's a double-cross in the works. Crispin Glover is on hand as a smooth bad guy with one of those canes that turns into a sword, and Matt LeBlanc and Luke Wilson play clueless boyfriends. Bill Murray is brilliant (as always) as Bosley, the first mate to the unseen Charlie (voiced by John Forsyth).

Charlie's Angels never slows down, and even when it's not delivering the thrills or a fun fight scene, it's being just plain funny. A scene where Luke Wilson takes Diaz to "Soul Train" on a date is unbelievably hilarious. And with Bill Murray on hand, you're bound to have a few extra laughs. Not to mention the movie's extraordinary repertoire of songs, from modern-day hip-hop, to airy eighties tunes, to Alan O'Day's "Undercover Angel," cicra 1977.

I suppose I must give at least some credit to music video director McG (whose very moniker makes him sound horribly pretentious) who makes his directorial debut here. Keeping a consistent tone and pace to a movie like this is key, and he pulls it off. McG also knows enough to let the action scenes move fast and clear, as opposed to this year's vogue for shaky-cam photography.

I've been so burned out on bad movies this year that I was surprised to be having fun in something so obvious as Charlie's Angels, and even more surprised to find that I was watching a good movie. I was able to relax and enjoy with a stupid grin on my face for 90 minutes. And that's saying something.

DVD Details: Columbia/TriStar's beautiful new Superbit Edition utilizes more disc space for image and sound quality while plunking all the extras on disc 2, including previews for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

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