Charlie’s Angels

Charlie’s Angels

Directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol

Starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray

I recently attended Charlie’s Angels with my kid, a 14-year-old male. Before you raise a stink about that, it was a choice between half-clad women and Little Nicky. I have a far lower tolerance for fart jokes than I do wet T-shirts, so the babes won out.

Now this won’t be an objective review at all, since I slept off and on during the picture. When I was awake, I found a few things entertaining – LL Cool J’s menacing intro bit, and Crispin Glover’s role. His twitchy, chain-smoking Thin Man stole every scene he appeared in. It was like catching a sideways glimpse of John Wayne Gacy as Pogo the Clown appearing at your neighbor’s kid’s birthday party. But overall, the movie was a tedious bore. No surprise there. The original show was, as well, and those who remember it fondly -hell, people who remember the ’70s fondly – either weren’t there or they had Farrah’s poster tacked over their bed. What surprised me about the movie were the choices made (one has to assume) by co-producer and co-star Drew Barrymore.

If this movie were created by a group of male producers and directors, its anti-woman stance would result in pickets at strip-mall multiplexes around the country. Cameron Diaz, grinning like an idiot savant, seems so far detached from reality that you keep peeking at her neck to locate the alien abduction marks. Picked to be the lead bimbo, she prances about in zipped-to-the-navel shirts and spray-painted-on pants and shorts, all perfect skin and glassy-eyed radiance. She seems to have based her character on those eleventh hour Ecstasy ravers who love everyone and smile a lot. Lucy Liu comes off like a surly Oriental waitress – yes, she will serve you, but you can bet she spits in your Kung Pow chicken before leaving the kitchen. Barrymore would have been a much better choice to have running about in scant clothing – hell, she isn’t flat chested, for one thing. But it was her movie, and I guess she didn’t want to play the goof role. Can’t blame her there.

But the most troubling aspect of the film occurs during a fight sequence, stolen, like all the action scenes in the movie, from The Matrix, with stop action photography and impossible back flips (during which the girls’ hair is just perfect, don’t ‘cha know). As the over-long scene drags on, you notice the song in the background is Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up.” Now, we’ve had years to quiet the debate about this nasty bit of misogyny, but here it appears again, during a moment in the movie where a trio of women is momentarily getting their cute little fannies spanked. Now, some have said that the bitch in question is Crispin Glover, and that may well be so in the minds of the creators, but I bet it wasn’t in my son’s. Thankfully, he doesn’t listen to the lyrics of songs or I’d have to explain that women aren’t bitches, and don’t deserve to get “smacked up,” no matter what the circumstances. If a male had made this movie, or set this song against a scene in which a man terrorizes a woman, the film and its makers would be blasted for dehumanizing women – and rightly so. The fact that the girls finally prevail doesn’t really neutralize the sordidness of the scene.

Much has been made recently about the notion that Hollywood is out of touch with its public, making movies that reflect the distorted viewpoints of a small, immoral group of people. Generally that sort of talk strikes me as so much conservative vote whoring, but in this case, I might find myself agreeing with them. I mean, I have to hope that Drew Barrymore is not just abandoning her morals and convictions for a paycheck.

If so, somebody needs to smack that bitch up.

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