- 30 May - 05 Jun, 2020
- 30 Nov - 06 Dec, 2019
Back in 2000, the glossy relaunch of Charlie’s Angels felt like a genuine pop culture event. The central casting of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, all at the height of their fame, was an impressively inspired get. Charlie’s Angels 2019 is slightly better than expected, but in another year of ill-conceived reboots, it’s a depressingly low bar.
The plot brings together three new angels, two of whom are already embedded within the Townsend agency and one of whom is an unlikely recruit. There’s Sabina (Kristen Stewart), whose quippy nature irks the more serious-minded Jane (British newcomer Ella Balinska), and both are protecting whistleblower Elena (Naomi Scott), who fears for the dangers attached to a new power source her company is developing. After a meeting goes sour, the three are on the run along with their Bosley (Banks), and they must work together to find a way to save the world … in style.
The actors are game, though, and while post-Twilight Stewart has often struggled to juggle bigger roles with her mostly exceptional work on the indie outskirts, she’s more comfortable here, having fun as the comedy support, trying her darnedest to add humour to a script that’s sorely lacking. Newcomer Balinska and Scott are solid enough, bringing energy to less fleshed-out characters, while Stewart has some fun chewing scenery around them.
There are mixed attempts from Banks to try to modernise the gender politics. While a sharper awareness of how men underestimate the skills and physical competency of women is nicely heightened and there are other flourishes that don’t work as well. After the cold open, Banks inserts a clumsy, cheap-looking montage of random girls and young women before the film’s title, which feels more like a deodorant ad than the start of a mainstream movie, while the sisterhood and intense bond between the three angels feels baseless and lacking in texture. It makes the decision to almost entirely eradicate love interests in place of female friendship better conceptually than on screen.
It’s forgettable on reflection, but pacey in the moment, proving to be far less wretched a watch than so many other creatively bankrupt IP resurrections of late. It’s better than it could have been while also not being quite good enough to warrant any further installments.