A 1970s Aaron Spelling jiggle 'n' shoot cop "masterpiece". Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, then pretty hot stuff, comprised the three original angels. (After contract disputes, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts completed the roster.)

The premise was that some bloke named "Charlie" took these three policewomen, who were assigned yawn-filled tasks such as desk worker and traffic guard, and assigned them to fight elite crime. He never appeared on-screen, instead using David Doyle's Bosley character to act as a go-between. Part of the show's appeal was that the stars would frequently forget their bras while running down hardened criminals.

There soon will be a motion picture under the same moniker. Likely stars are Ally McBeal's Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore.

I watched this movie this weekend with my wife and her parents. (Note to others: gratuitous T&A, no matter how blatant and amusing, is never something you want to watch with your significant other.) It was the only movie we could all agree we were interested in seeing.

Ye gods, what a waste of time and money.

The special F/X and martial arts scenes looked cool, I'll give them that. And the boob and butt shots probably would have been more titillating if I were still an adolescent. But outside of that... no redeeming features. None. And I looked hard.

This movie couldn't decide if it wanted to be comedy, action, mystery, or just plain eye candy. But that wasn't it. The villains and their motivations were all straight out of a bargain-bin comic book. But that wasn't it. The plot kept jumping between the actual story to meaningless and unintegrated scenes involving the Angels' assorted boyfriends, who weren't even interesting enough to provide real comic relief. But that wasn't it. The whole story rather hinged on the viewer having some idea of what the original TV series was like. But that, too, wasn't it.

No, it was the fact that there was not a single believable detail in this script. Not one. Anywhere. From beginning to end -- from the first scene where a guy's sitting in first class on an airliner with a bomb strapped to his chest that somehow made it past the metal detectors, to nearly the last where Lucy Liu's character was checking out the manual control pad inside a heat-seeking missile -- realism, believability, and plausability were all thrown completely out the window for this script.

Mainframe computers locked up in vaults with absurdly sophisticated security systems tighter than Fort Knox, and apparently not networked to anything. Bad guys with kung fu skills to rival Jackie Chan and who obviously are incapable of feeling pain. GPS satellites that can apparently trace a cell phone signal in addition to their normal responsibilities. 747s where the emergency exits open as easily as a patio door. Millionaire masterminds who can track the identity of a former U.S. Army intelligence agent from twenty years ago, but still can't figure out where he lives. Formula 1 race cars that play "chicken" on a suspension bridge with no other traffic in sight. The list goes on and on. The average Joe would have to suspend their disbelief to the point of doubting the law of gravity in order to swallow this movie. A nitpicker like myself will feel his brain still hurting for days after.

It truly boggles the mind. This could have been a kick-butt movie if they'd bothered to put together a coherent and even slightly logical story behind it, instead of trying to cover up its lack thereof with as much retro 70s music, stylish cinematography, and exposed skin as they could think of. As it is, it's just as flash-in-the-pan as the retro fashion trend it's based on.

One example of a film having direct impact on any aspect of society could be found in the recent cinematic adaptation of the 70s television program Charlie's Angels. Via the vehicle of mass media exposure, this movie helped to shape social consciousness with the provision of woman role models to the world at large and the depiction of female empowerment on the screen.

Charlie's Angels provides strong female role models. The women featured in the film are not only physically beautiful, but demonstrate talent, keen intelligence, and formidable combat ability. The classic depiction of women being secondary to or often outright defined by a man finds no place in this movie. Though employed and supervised by men, the Angels are clearly what make up the detective agency. They provide the brains and the brawns behind the entire operation and use their feminine advantages to get things done when they need to be done in that fashion.

The strength and capability of these women even show up with their personal relationships, demonstrating how that these romantic endeavors were made possible by their active involvement. This is in contrast to other movies where romantic entanglements existed simply because some man willed the whole thing together. With such songs as "Independent Woman" sung by all-girl group Destiny's Child stirring in the background, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore's characters do well to resonate with the lyric "...'cause I depend on me..."

Charlie's Angels challenges the age-old adage that all women are damsels in distress waiting for a man to come and provide them a dashing and perilous rescue from whatever harrowing predicament ailed them. In this movie, the women saved the men. Bosley, portrayed by Bill Murray, was captured and inevitably rescued by Cameron Diaz's character, Natalie. When Dylan, Drew Barrymore's character, was captured and was in the position to be rescued, herself, she managed to break free from her captors without the aid of anyone else...and with her hands tied behind her back! These women are not to be messed with.

One curious thing to mention is that a controversial song by the group Prodigy made it into the score. When "Smack My Bitch Up" was first released, there was much turmoil produced as it was believed that it engendered spousal abuse, enforcing the notion that "women should know and stay in their place". When it was used in the scene where the Angels launched into their first combat scene with Crispin Glover, however, it served to empower the women even more. Exactly who was giving the smackdown to what bitch, eh?

Charlie's Angels does well to shatter the convention that women could be nothing but victims and that, empowered, they are capable beings in their own right. Having the benefit of a mass medium as film to disseminate this message, the world can finally realize its veracity for themselves.

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