Fallen Angels

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What Charlie's Angels has going for it is a good joke about bikini waxing, another about blueberry muffins as lethal weapons, and a third about the difficulties of finding viable male companionship in Los Angeles. You would think any movie employing 17 writers (according to the Los Angeles Times) would have, let's say, 14 more funny lines--one per desperate scrivener.

Charlie's Angels also offers us cute, peppy Cameron Diaz as the most adorable of the Angels, Drew Barrymore as the most vulnerable of them (she seems actually to be acting now and then, which is probably a mistake in this context) and Lucy Liu as the most ferocious, albeit in an interesting, crabby way. Under the guidance of a music-video director who is known simply as McG, they all manage to not quite fall out of their costumes numerous times.

But that's about it for suspense. Mostly, this movie is a succession of knock-offs. Of the old TV show, naturally, but also of the lesser James Bond entries, of The Matrix's visual effects in the fight scenes and of the penetration of a technologically well-defended vault, a la the first Mission: Impossible.

The plot--something about computer geeks double-crossing one another--is of no consequence. The film is essentially about displaying the Angels in ways that are titillating to adolescent males, yet give their dates the impression that something inspiring is being said about female empowerment. It is, on both counts, just a tease. The best you can say for this version of Charlie's Angels is that it retains a sort of chipper, eerie good nature as it wastes the studio's money and our time.