There’s a general rule to bringing a classic TV show to the big screen and it either involves going bigger – in stunts and special effects – or deeper, digging into the mythology. The millennial sequel to “Charlie’s Angels” does both.
Commissioned to locate Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell) the kidnapped CEO of Knox Industries, Charlie’s Angels – Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz), Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore), and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) initially suspect rival technology company Red Star, run by Roger Corwin (Tim Curry). But when an eccentric assassin interrupts their operation, they begin to realise that there is a bigger plot, one which threatens the Townsend Agency itself.
A triumph of style over substance, McG’s modern reimagining of the classic Aaron Spelling takes the frothy weekly detection and dials it up to eleven, trolling the recently revived “Mission: Impossible” and roping in a bunch of celebrity cameos in a cavalcade of camp, knowingly silly and playfully sexy setpieces. Diaz, Liu and Barrymore quickly establish fantastic chemistry and have plenty of fun with a witty, if a little scattergun, script and if a scene doesn’t really work for you it doesn’t matter because a new one will be along in just a minute. The action scenes are wilfully over the top, with copious physics-defying wire-fu taking the place of ferocious gunplay (star/ producer Barrymore refused to allow the Angels to use guns at any point).
With the camaraderie of its three stars bolstered by the free-spirited performances of a guest cast including Sam Rockwell, Tim Curry, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover and, er, Tom Green – it’s only Bill Murray who seems a little out of place, his usual laconic style not quite gelling with the madcap antics of his costars. The plot is a little overcomplicated and doesn’t bear too much scrutiny but because everyone (okay, not you Mr Murray) is having so much fun, so will you.
Light, fast-paced and funny, “Charlie’s Angels” ups the action and flirtatiousness of the original series and adds a layer of self-aware comedy and a smattering of musical numbers that sweeten the deal.