The dumb '70s TV show about three female detectives is now a dumb action-comedy feature. You were expecting "American Beauty"?
Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu update the butt-kicking babes that turned Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson into disco-era icons. In the tradition of the "Brady Bunch" and "Addams Family" flicks, the approach is to spoof the original with a series of self-referential gags about how impossibly tough, brilliant and sexy the three superheroines are. There's also a nominal plotline about some high-powered business types trying to take over world communications or something - don't bother to follow it.
There's little to speak of, though Bill Murray contributes some welcome comic bits as the Angels' bumbling supervisor, Bosley. Of the heavenly threesome, Liu (TV's "Ally McBeal") is the funniest and most convincing in action, though Diaz also scores most of the time with a winking parody of her own sunshiny image. Producer Barrymore, who can be painfully uneven in character comedy (see: "Never Been Kissed"), is more effective than usual essentially playing herself. The sharp pros filling out supporting roles include the terrific Sam Rockwell ("The Green Mile") and, in the film's most inspired bit of casting, the ever-eccentric Crispin Glover ("Back To the Future") as an intense, swordcane-wielding heavy.
Music video director McG packs virtually every frame of his feature debut with cranked-up stylistic flourishes -- swooping camerawork, sudden shifts from slow motion to regular speed, "Matrix"-style wire-fighting stunts. At times the showiness gets in the movie's way, but for the most part it works to distract the audience from the witless script (reportedly hashed together by a committee of 17 scribes). The filmmakers display no special touch for "Austin Powers"-ish campy humor, but the lighthearted battle scenes are executed with flair.
"Charlie's Angels" is silly, unoriginal and lacking any socially redeeming value whatsoever. Audiences should love it!