To call “Charlie’s Angels” junk food wouldn’t be entirely accurate. It’s easy to digest pablum, but it’s not something that’s really enjoyable going down. This girl power fueled continuation of the popular franchise welcomes the next generation of highly trained and skilled international crime fighters to the big screen.
Written by, directed by, and starring Elizabeth Banks, this dumb movie tells the story of whistleblowing engineer Elena (Naomi Scott) who exposes a new and dangerous power source technology that could easily be weaponized. When Elena’s life is put in danger, a pair of Angels (Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska) are called into action to protect her.
This isn’t an inherently bad movie, it’s just an almost-turd that’s been given a sparkly new sheen from a bit of the ol’ Hollywood polish. The main reason it’s still watchable is that the actors all seem to be having fun. Scott is charming, Balinska’s athleticism is entertaining to watch, and Stewart steals every scene she’s in. While all are likeable individually, they have almost zero chemistry together. Even Banks, who is obviously in love with herself as both an actor and now a filmmaker, isn’t as annoying as usual.
I do believe the feminist messages here are delivered from a heartfelt place, but many of the “hooray for women!” moments feel forced at best and ridiculously hokey at worst. The attempts at comedy fall flat, the big twists are lame, and the action scenes are uninspired. But hey, at least there are lots of snazzy costumes and wardrobe changes, exotic locales, and a dance number to keep the energy up.
“Charlie’s Angels” is the type of movie that’s best suited for watching on an airplane or anywhere else where you’re trapped and in dire need of entertainment. It’s sadly not as good as it could be (or that I hoped it to be), and that’s a real bummer.