Charlie's Angels 2000
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, Kelly Lynch, John Forsythe
(Columbia, 2000) Rated: R
The movie is full of such James Bondish excitement, as well as elaborate martial arts (digitally enhanced and choreographed by The Matrix coordinator, Cheung-Yan Yuen), well-cast supporting players (including Bill Murray as Bosley and Crispin Glover as the sinister Thin Man), and much adorable girl-bonding. So what if the actual plot is ridiculous in conception and most of its execution? The basics go something like this: a stereotypically wussy software billionaire, Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell, last seen abusing mice in The Green Mile), has been kidnapped, and his company's shady president, Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch), hires the Charles Townsend Agency to retrieve him, along with some stolen secret voice-identification software, which, in the wrong hands, will surely cause worldwide destruction. Charlie sends the Angels after a nefarious and charismatic suspect, Roger Corwin (Tim Curry). While undercover at a swank party, the Angels spot Thin Man (who apparently works for Corwin) and chase him down a back stairway, tossing their girly garments as they go, so that by the time they catch Thin Man and engage in the inevitable tussle, they're wearing appropriately audacious black leather and spandex. Voila! Ready for another spectacular action scene!
What's more, the Angels are quite hip to their own socio-political environment. Their angelic perkiness is most often underlined by completely bubbly soundtrack choices — "Angel of the Morning" to mark their perpetual dewiness; "Turning Japanese" when they're undercover in an Asian massage parlor; Blur's "Song 2" or Heart's "Barracuda" when they need some adrenaline pumping; Destiny's Child's "Independent Women (Part 1)" when they're at a fast food drive-in (let's imagine this as a comment on "crass commercialism"). But a couple of songs are manifestly aggressive, even obnoxious, choices — Pharoahe Monch's "Simon Says" (the clip omits lines like "Rub on your titties!") or Prodigy's once-controversial "Smack My Bitch Up" during a relatively brutal fight scene. And there it is: smacking your bitch up needn't be cause for uproar when said bitch's identity is in question: Cameron Diaz or Crispin Glover? (You decide.) And this does seem the film's most profound point, that eventually, everything that might once be deemed offensive — from '70s network jiggle to '90s MTV outrage — is grist for the mainstream mill.