[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels

Newsnight Review discussed Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

MARK LAWSON:
Charlie's Angels, the second movie. Deborah Bull, those of us who grew up watching this on TV would have been surprised to be told it would spawn two summer blockbusters. Does it deserve them?

DEBORAH BULL:
Good clothes. Really, that was about the best thing about it I thought. I have seen better comedy, I have seen better drama, I've certainly seen better action, I've seen better spoof and I've seen better soft porn than that. So frankly, I was happier with the series than with the movie.

LAWSON:
Michael Gove, it shows one way in which cinema is going, perhaps two ways, it's directed by a pop video director, which you see very much. Also, it is cinema disappearing up its own backside. There are endless references not only to the TV series, but I gave up after I had counted 25 parodies of other movies and that's what they're doing here.

MICHAEL GOVE:
It's all parody and its no structure. It's a bit like one of those pizzas where you put Peking duck on top. You already have a bastardised art form with nothing truly or genuinely original about it. I enjoy spoofs. Ali G In Da House, I enjoy teen comedy, Something About Mary I liked. I enjoy action films with very, very little plot lines. I love almost all Bonds. But this is I think aeons behind all of those in terms of originality, charm, humour, wit, anything which makes a good night out at the cinema.

LAWSON:
I went to see it about six o'clock in the evening after a hard days work. It does work in that sense, huge, full cinema, it's greatly relaxing and cathartic in many ways. Some of the movie references were quite clever I thought. We have an angel who has gone over to the dark side, a clever way of doing Tolkien and of doing Harry Potter. So not stupid I thought John Harris.

JOHN HARRIS:
No, but it's so over laden with that stuff, my brain wasn't following the progress of the film. I felt like I was sitting a quick fire general knowledge quiz about the 70s cinema. So you were going "oh Flashdance, okay that's good, Grease now". And then 40 minutes in, what with that and then these absolutely overdone special effects, when people fall out of helicopters and miraculously end up 80 feet down a ravine plunging into the front seat again and I just didn't know what was going on.

GOVE:
It's like many of the effects, you mention pop videos, many of the effects remind me of computer games, as it were. But anyone who plays computer games will know you need a genuinely good plot line there. Effects are never enough on their own. One or two of the effects genuinely are spectacular. There is a slight [he gasps] element at one or two points in the movie.

HARRIS:
Do you think there is?

GOVE:
Slight. But its not enough to sustain you. You admire one or two bits of cinematography. There is one moment when we see this marvellous dock site transformed into one of the surfaces of hell for 20 seconds, and we hear the Prodigy's Firestarter and it's OK. It would be great, as you say, in a pop video, but in this film it's just one second's enjoyment and the rest of it is pretty barren.

LAWSON:
Deborah, much discussion of the sexual politics of this because Drew Barrymore is an executive producer of it. They bill it as 'girl power', but it is this bizarre combination of supposed girl power and shots of women in bikinis?

BULL:
And girls where their power is only ever activated by a male voice coming out a speaker. Really, these are like the worst sort of dancers and athletes to me. They are fantastic when they are allowed to get going and physical, but they don't seem to have two brain cells to work anything out themselves.

HARRIS:
And worse still, its only girl power facilitated by Industrial Light And Magic, there is no extent to which they are beating up fellas for real, and that's the shame of it really.

LAWSON:
Also in terms of the sexuality of it, Michael, it's a 12A film which means that quite young children can go. There's some quite explicit, I mean it's cleverly done, sexual references. There is a reference to a vaginal wig for example, on the side of a sheep. There are several others though, I mean really quite explicit sexual - there is a whole sub-plot in which John Cleese as one of the girls' fathers thinks she is an escort girl.

GOVE:
Yes exactly, and there is a double entendre about surfing, which is pure Carry On. But at the same time there is also a sequence in which we find out that Drew Barrymore's character's real name is a pun on bottom and for two minutes there are a serious of jokes about that.

LAWSON:
Lets give it away, its so awful. Susan Zass she is called, which allows them to do ass jokes for two minutes.

GOVE:
Exactly, and it ends up making Dumb and Dumberer look like Visconti in comparison.

LAWSON:
Sorry, Helen Zass she is in fact. Now look, you are a political commentator Michael Grove. I'm interested in this, they have this O'Grady gang, Irish terrorists of some kind. We are always very aware of how Hollywood deals with the IRA. I thought this was spectacularly lame.

GOVE:
Completely lame, but there is actually one way in which this film is ground breaking. And that is I think this is probably the first representation in Hollywood of Irish characters in an unsympathetic fashion. I think we have got through a taboo in the 21st century. Hollywood's favourite minority, the Irish, is at last treated in a villainous fashion.

HARRIS:
It took me about 10 seconds if not longer to figure out he was Irish, because I thought he was Scottish for at least the first part.

LAWSON:
The accent did go all over the place, as indeed did the movie. Charlie's Angels - Full Throttle, certificate 12A was released around Britain today.



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific