Charlie's Angels (2000)
Directed by McG

Artistic Value: * * * ½
Entertainment Value: * * * * ½

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Synopsis & Analysis
While the potential viewer may find it difficult to believe that anyone who calls himself McG can be taken seriously, he need not be bothered by such a concern with regard to that director's first film, Charlie's Angels. McG has, in fact, made one of the most entertaining movies I have seen. It is enthusiastically performed, wonderfully colorful, sexy, funny, and exciting.

The movie's narrative revolves around the investigation by a team of female private detectives, Charlie's Angels, into the kidnaping of a multimillionaire software tycoon (Sam Rockwell) and is structured around a sequence of set pieces, each of which provides a reason for the Angels to embroil themselves in the next. All are entertaining, energetic, and light-hearted. In fact, the film never takes itself seriously, and many of its scenes parody other films or different subcultures or time periods. The opening sequence, for example, lampoons the 1970s while simultaneously mocking the current interest in remaking television series from that decade as movies.

The film's action sequences, which constitute a large part or even the whole of many of these scenes, though generally presented in a tongue in cheek manner, or at least incorporating humorous elements, are, nevertheless, genuinely exciting. The fight between the Angels and a mysterious enemy known only as The Thin Man (Crispin Glover), for example, which makes extensive use of wire work in a style spoofing that found in The Matrix, while presented without seriousness, actually manages to be more exhilarating than is any sequence from the movie it parodies.

Such scenes are, admittedly, made more enjoyable than they would otherwise have been by the presence of the movie's cast members. Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore, who star as the titular crime fighting Angels, bring a charming, vibrant sexiness and a real sense of fun to the film and are consistently a joy to watch. While most of the actors are competent and several are genuinely entertaining, the three leads so enliven the film with their lusty excitement that they make watching it an intoxicating, celebratory delight.

Moreover, Charlie's Angels revels in its sexuality, but without ever being puerile. The Angels display their various charms, make frequent innuendos, and exude a joyous sensuality that allows the viewer to appreciate the light-hearted pleasures of the physical world. The whole film is, in fact, flirtatious and naughty in the best of ways.

McG has created a consistently entertaining movie. While it is certainly not art, it is far preferable to Steven Spielberg's latest sentimental sermon or some film "based on actual events." Charlie's Angels is a fast paced, funny, stylish, sexy, and likeable movie.

Review by Keith Allen

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