Charlie’s Angels is a brand that, at one point, was not laughable. It all began in 1976 with a TV show that turned Farrah Fawcett (Angel Jill Monroe) into a superstar.
In 2000, the Angels were reborn and this time onto the big screen. I flew from Boston to Los Angeles to interview the entire cast and the film’s director, McG. As a fan of the TV series, I had doubts about a big screen version with an all new cast that included Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz. I was impressed with what a great job writer John August did with the screenplay. The cast had a chemistry that oozed off the screen. And McG’s style of direction was ahead of its time but superb.
Flash forward nearly 20 years and we have this atrocious reboot featuring a cast that has less of a collective pulse than that of drying paint.
The movie opens with the Angels kidnapping an Asian man with an earring named Johnny.
Kristen Stewart’s character, Sabina (more about her later), explains to her Angel cohorts after they subdue him, that it only takes a couple of seconds for women to perceive a man as a threat. “It takes seven seconds for a man to perceive women as a threat,” she adds.
After being delivered to Bosley Johnny asks Bosley (this Bosley played by Patrick Stewart) where he is and who everyone else is. Bosley informs him “you are in the presence of Angels. The question is, Johnny, who are you?” Idiotic lines like that pepper the film which could have used a lot more sugar or salt instead.
A year has passed and the Angels are now on the hunt for a stolen computer program called Calisto that has been lifted by Peter Flemming (Nat Faxon).
Before they set off for Istanbul and recruit a local to help them search and apprehend their target, another Bosley, (this one played by Elizabeth Banks, who also directs this garbage), throws a retirement party for Patrick Stewart’s Bosley. In the background, on dozens of monitors, is every other Bosley in the world to bid him adieu. If you blink you will miss Michael Strahan as one of them.
Banks’s Bosley explains to everyone that “Bosley is a rank in our organization, like lieutenant,” not a name. OK.
Yet another Bosley, this one played by Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou, is killed (hmmm?) when a car crashes into his car and his car goes flying into the ocean.
The movie tries, but fails miserably, at mimicking the Mission: Impossible and James Bond movies.
There are a lot of bad guys, including Hodak (Jonathan Tucker) who tries to kill Sabina by blowing up her car. Oh, yes, someone calls her Sabrina at the beginning of the film and she corrects them. “It’s Sabina. It’s an Italian name” she says. “Are you Italian?” the person asks her. “No,” answers Sabina. Oy.
Another line from Sabina, sure to put this picture in the front runner status of Best Original Screenplay at the 2020 Oscars; “I once got food poisoning from lamb and yogurt sauce.”
I find it hard to believe that there are many moviegoers of any age, sexual preference or race that would want to pay to see Stewart in anything. (The Twilight movies had a built in audience. She had nothing to do with getting one butt into a seat for any of those films). The other two Angels are played by Naomi Scott (Elena) who was Princess Jasmine in the pathetic Aladdin remake earlier this year. There’s nary a chance of her becoming a star, no matter how much her agent, manager and lawyers wish that for her and themselves. Even worse of an actress (and I use the word actress very loosely) is Ella Balinska who plays the third Angel, Jane.
The studio didn’t even try. If they had cast three well known, capable actors in the film, (as they did in the original), and had hired a better screenwriter, it may have had a chance at becoming a hit, critically and commercially. Sadly, Elizabeth Banks got her paws on this screenplay, something that should have been flushed down the toilet after it was first read. Then again, there was literally no reason for this film to get a reboot. No one was asking for it.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have been warned and don’t need to waste your time or money. You’re welcome.
Charlie’s Angels (2019) Review by Tim Nasson