Let's make this clear: Charlie's Angels is not a great film; it's not even a particularly good one. But this tacky take on the tackier '70s TV series directed by the hilariously (but appropriately) named McG is a blast, making up in charm, exuberance and good, kitsch fun for what it lacks in smarts, intrigue and clever story (let's face it, there are better plotted episodes of The Power Puff Girls).
A shameless grab-bag of MTV visuals and elaborate Matrix-y choreography, this is movie fast-food wrapped up in synthetic, brightly coloured packaging and served with an air of cosy familiarity (nods to the original "jiggle TV" series include the Angels' habit of coquettishly tossing their feathered locks over their shoulders). The focus here is eye candy with attitude - boy-crazy dim-belles who look fit and kick ass, but have the crime-solving capabilities of molluscs.
Sexual taunting and costume changes are the angels' investigative mod op. And with their "we're just girlies, us" lines, the private chicks aren't preaching Girl Power so much as self-parody (Lucy Liu's poker-faced Alex strutting her stuff as a corporate dominatrix; Drew Barrymore, as tomboy Dylan,moon- walking away from a battered heap of henchmen; Cameron Diaz's bubble-brained Natalie shaking her white booty in front of an appalled dancefloor of soul brothers). But when these high-flying, martial arts princesses get to show off their wire-assisted moves, and are kicking the crap out of slimeballs, Charlie's Angels is deliriously entertaining.
The major let-down here is Bill Murray as Bosley. If ever there was a role gift-wrapped for scene-stealing, it's the Angel's acerbic sidekick. It should have been like snatching sweets from a baby with its arms tied down but the usually dependable Murray looks irritable and occasionally even speechless - which probably isn't all that surprising, given the reports of heated debates on set.
Still, girls just wanna have fun, and the leads' high-spirited, good-natured antics just about make up for the narrative void at Charlie's Angels' core.
Silly, trashy, pop-culture junk? Yes, yes, and you bet. Fling all the mud you want at Charlie's Angels, it never pretends to be anything other than what it is: unashamed and instantly disposable popcorn entertainment. Buy ticket. Switch off brain. Enjoy.