- Colin Fraser
TWO AND A HALF STARS The Townsend Agency is woke, with new Angels ready to right wrongs.
Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Stewart
COMEDY ACTION #CHARLIESANGELS
Almost two decades after the original TV series got a big screen reboot, CHARLIE’S ANGELS gets yet another treatment, this time as woke as an inner city, Green-voting, climate-change activist. In a #metoo world, the old format was never going to fly as the movie’s writer, director and star Elizabeth Banks was well aware. Thus The Townsend Agency (run by the ubiquitous Charlie) has woken and gone global with hundreds of Angels and scores of Bosleys now found in all corners of the world ready to fight the fight wherever and whenever needed. It’s even possible that Charlie is no longer a man.
Plot, such as it is, has Angels Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinksa and Naomi Scott, led by Banks as Bosley, retrieve-the-dangerous-gadget-and-catch-the-bad-guys in glamorous locations. It’s third rate Bond stuff really with jokes that are equally lame. Yet there’s also a fizzy intensity that gets you through most of it most of the time. Banks is a treat, especially when defending her age against the youngsters in the room, namely Stewart. A swirling debate about THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck and BATMAN is especially funny. Stewart is also good value who, perhaps surprisingly given her perceived lack of range, bounces off the screen and is clearly having a ball trying out the possibilities of being an action star.
That Banks doesn’t aim especially high is to her credit. There’s only so far you can go with this kind of light-weight confection and CHARLIE’S ANGELS just about stays the course. If a little long for a film this disposable, the plot is twisty enough with gags that are funny enough amid action that’s engaging enough. Enough for a sequel? No. Will there be one? Most likely, and unfortunately, yes.