Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

Charlie's Angels

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, innuendo and some sensuality/nudity

Reviewed by: Curtis D. Smith
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action, Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
November 3, 2000 (wide)
Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu in “Charlie’s Angels”
Featuring: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell
Director: Joseph McGinty, McG
Producer: Leonard J. Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, Leonard Goldberg, Nancy Juvonen
Distributor: Columbia Tristar

After years of anonymity, will a diabolical plot to kill the millionaire founder of the Townsend Detective Agency allow the angels a chance to finally meet their wealthy boss?

Well, yes and no. Most of us don’t care and the rest can probably wait until the video release to find out, but those who dare to wager $8 will see an action packed “update” of the popular Aaron Spelling produced TV series of the late 70s called “Charlie’s Angels”.

Scene from “Charlie’s Angels”An original yet morally questionable hit that launched the erratic acting careers of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith (and later, Cheryl Ladd, Tanya Roberts and Shelley Hack), “Charlie’s Angels” offered viewers a new societal look at the world’s modern woman through today’s opaque eyes of action, adventure and comedy.

This latest installment—called an update by its producers—takes that look where the franchise might be today had it kept going. But more than just an update, the 2000 version is really a would-be spoof of the former TV show that makes fun of itself through cartoonish violence, blatant sexual innuendo, hair-flipping references to the 1970s and silly-looking feats of agility. It’s Jackie Chan meets MTV, “The Matrix” meets “Austin Powers” or a mixture of “Mission: Impossible 2” and just about any James Bond film.

Angels Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu) are assigned by Charlie (voice of John Forsythe) to rescue a kidnapped software engineer (Sam Rockwell) responsible for creating a prolific voice-identification program believed stolen by corporate rival Roger Corwin (Tim Curry). When the angels liberate the engineer and infiltrate Red Star Systems to find the software they are suddenly thrust into a plot to locate and destroy their beloved boss.

Meanwhile, the new Bosley (Bill Murray) introduces the angels to Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch), the software company’s dubious president, who seems a little too eager to tap into Corwin’s Red Star satellite system. Turns out she and her unsavory cohorts plan to use the software and accompanying global satellite system to exact revenge against Charlie for an alleged crime he committed in the military years ago.

One very important issue to remember here is that the nondescript plot cannot stand in the way of this movie, that is, if you plan to sit through the whole thing with all your brain cells intact. The action, comedy and visual prowess of the film is what gives it its occasional vigor, not great acting or a clever story. However, constant sexual overtones make this “sexploitation” film nearly impossible to watch without adjusting one’s moral compass beyond the safety zone.

A precariously demoralizing world view of young women prevails in “Charlie’s Angels”. It repeatedly says women are little more than sexual playthings—with few brains and even fewer inhibitions—who must prance around half naked in order to get what they want. First John 2:16-17 tells us: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but it is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” While most of the film offers what the world sees as benign humor, much of it is laced with erotic imagery and dialogue designed to evoke sensuality where none needs to exist.

Furthermore, several choreographed fight scenes featuring the girls and a hired gun (Crispin Glover) are apparently aimed at exhibiting female empowerment, but they instead might send mixed signals to young viewers about the call for violence—a fight producer/actor Barrymore claims to champion.

Directed by music video veteran McG, “Charlie’s Angels” is quite frankly little more than a tasteless visual experience. When the angels do happen to stop for an infrequent break from the mission their dialogue is cheesy and wrought with sexual double entendre.

An underutilized Murray adds some validity to the comedic tone of the film with his typical dry humor and wit. Unlike the original Bosley in many ways (who was played by the late David Doyle), Murray’s character gets involved with the operation long enough to be captured by the baddies and taken to their hidden fortress where they plan the demise of Charlie’s crime fighting team.

It’s hard to imagine who the target audience might be other than depraved teen boys because the film’s subject matter and intelligence is so vapid—truly it’s an equal opportunity abuser of intellect. And just when you think some wit might escape the lips of one of the lead actresses at some point during the film they instead open their mouths to spew more horrid idiocy written by screenwriters Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon and John August.

But McG (that name!) deserves all the credit and/or blame for “Charlie’s Angels.” What he’s created, once you get right down to it, is 92 minutes of sexually charged brainless eye candy that shamelessly borrows from just about every Hong Kong action movie made in the last two years. Sadly, the “Charlie’s Angels” poster logo says just about everything the filmmakers wish to say about their effort: “Get Some Action.” Don’t get me wrong, Charlie’s Angels is a funny and fast paced film that promises lots of thrills, but it seems our Lord likely intended there to be much more to a woman than her outward appearance and attitude. Unfortunately, womankind loses more moral ground than it takes with “Charlie’s Angels.”


Viewer Comments
I cannot believe a Christian can say they liked this movie. A movie doesn’t have to have explicit sex to be impure. Double entenderes and suggestive clothing are enough to make it displeasing to God’s eyes. Just think of this: Would Jesus have liked watching this movie? Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV) My Ratings: [1/1]
—A. J., age 34
Charlie’s Angels was not a very good movie form my perspective. They didn’t do a bad job with special effects and so on, but the whole thing was demeaning to women and and insult to the intelligence of the viewers. I prefer a movie of substance any day to a “chick flick” for teenagers blinded by image and sex. My Ratings: [1½/3]
—Autumn, age 15
As far as entertainment value goes, it’s great. For us Christians and supposed Christians though, it doesn’t bring a lot to the table. I didn’t mind, though, as it did what I sought it out to do… entertain me. I wasn’t looking for a moral message in there or anything such as that, if I were, I would have picked a different genre of movies to watch in the first place. Therefore, I thought this movie did a very good job of doing what it set out to do. My Ratings: [3/4½]
—Nate, age 17
The plot for this movie was quite terrible. It was jumpy and quite erratic and most of it might make younger viewer’s confused. This movie is also VERY unrealistic. The angels jump up and down, fall down 10 stories, get smashed onto walls, get hit, get chopped and end up looking still very pretty with not a trace of blood or even a scratch. I mean, even lower budget movies at least show some (though rather fake) blood. Either than that very unbelievable and quite juvenile plot, the action was very good and the camera shots were fantastic. The camera man would zoom in and zoom out at all the right times, fade scenes in and out, and slow some scenes down to create very nice effects. There was some swearing in the Lord’s name (not good of course). Also, Natalie (Diaz) was always wearing very short skirts and shaking her bum every time she dances. Although that is shown more as a playful thing, not a sexual turn on, its quite disturbing. Also, drew (dylan) was wearing a very VERY low cut shirt (quite disturbing). Not to mention that drew also had countless one night stands. One of the only moral parts was when Natalie said (after vivian wood “interrupted” her talk with bf), “Do you know how hard it is to find quality guys in Los Angeles?”. That is definitely true. Its also quite hard to find quality movies in Hollywood. My Ratings: [2/3½]
—nk, age 15
…we were very suprised at how much we both enjoyed it! It was very fast paced and even though it copied “Mission: Impossible 2” and “The Matrix” through the whole thing I loved it. The three actresses even did a very good job. If it didn’t have its few unnecessary scenes I would have given this movie a 4½ rating, but I would say it’s definitely worth your money to go see in the theaters with all of its special effects and fighting/action scenes! Two thumbs up! My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Melissa, age 15
I belong to that small demographic of girls who really like action flicks, and in watching them recently—especially MI2 and this movie—I’ve noticed a common inconsistency. Take for example a scene where the three “angels” (I note the irony) fight a henchman in an alley. Although he is struck several times VERY HARD in the face, there are no visible marks or swelling (I think I might have seen a little trickle of blood once). At least one of those blows should have broken his jaw or flattened his nose. A more realistic depiction of violence (I mean realistic, not graphic, which shows violence more closely and clearly than reality) would go a long way toward ending its glorification in the movies. (The fight scenes would be a lot shorter, though.) My Ratings: [2/3]
—Shalen Hamar, age 19
I think that the reviewer was extremely harsh. I almost wonder if he or she even saw the movie. I didn’t feel that there was any bad language and the nudity, which was basically just cleavage, wasn’t offensive to me because the objective behind it wasn’t to seduce. The excellent filmography and special effects added so much too. And just to note, comparing this movie to The Matrix and Austin Powers is just ignorant. My Ratings: [4/4½]
—Kaiti Bierdeman, age 20
I enjoyed the humor and mockery of the whole movie yet some parts were VERY revealing (the whole Cameron Diaz Shirt and when they get out of the water with the scuba gear). But overall I really enjoyed the movie! The soul train dance scene was one of my favorites, but as a christian those girls were anything BUT Angels!! My Ratings: [3½/5]
—Vanne, age 18
Okay, you guys are kidding right? There was NO sex in this film, even though one of these posted messages said it has explicit sex. It was a pretty stupid movie, but it was hardly immoral. And I think it’s weird to call the teenage boys who saw this film “depraved.” Finally, the first message posted said he took his wife to see it with visions of the original in his mind, but anyone who knows about pop culture can tell you the original was made for the same purpose—it was to show the invented G-rated sexploitation. So don’t be a hypocrite. My Ratings: [4/2]
—Brett and Judith Simpson, age 32
I recently saw the movie and feel that the reviewer was a little too harsh on the film. The movie is a simple “brainless” tongue in cheek action movie. No nudity or course language. I enjoyed the “cheesy” action scenes and was impressed with Cameron and Lucy action scenes. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Tony, age 36
I have to agree with the reviewer about this film. Almost every scene had some thing about sex. Diaz character Natalie is always wearing her shirts zipped down to the waste showing off her breasts partially. It all, but screams exploit me. I started to dread looking at the screen whenever she was on. The language always had a double sexual meaning and I got sick of hearing these girls talk. If this is Hollywood’s idea of empowered woman I’ll stick with the bibles view thank you. Interesting thing about the no gun rule for the women (courtesy of Barrymore). I felt the martial arts sequences were far more violent and promoted the violence far more then taking a gun and using it. The fight scences were just gratuituous violence for the sake of it. There were some funny scenes, but these were very few. Wait for the video then you can fast forward if you want to watch this film. My Ratings: [1/3]
—Rachele Stuart, age 26
“JUVENILE” was the word the movie screamed at me. My feelings were confirmed a couple of days later, when I read Curtis Smiths review for Christian Spotlight and fully agree with his conclusion that the target audience for this movie has got to be “depraved teen boys”. So why did we go the movie in the first place? My wife was lulled into a sense of security by the PG-13 rating, and my mind was filled with visions of the ORIGINAL Charlies Angels, reinforced by a recent viewing of a History Channel life story on Cheryl Ladd. We ended up walking out about one half way through, already overdosed on a vapid story, explicit and implicit sex, and swearing. My Ratings: [1/1]
—Dave Storhaug, age 55