If you are watching a big studio movie with a female ensemble, there is a 50% chance that there will be some monologue about how men who underestimate women are both a triple and an advantage. This becomes as inevitable as environmental superhumans. For its part, it is a harmless observation and a signal to the audience that this film is familiar with modern gender politics. Sometimes it's even walkable, as in Hustlers. But where it starts to thin out is when the movie around it doesn't live up to even the most modest expectations for popcorn entertainment (hello, "Ocean's # 8").
The latter is more like "Charlie's Angels " starring Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott. Of course, this is a reboot of the 70s television series that spawned a movie series and another attempt at a television show.
While always featuring three women in the lead roles, the original concept was not exactly a model for enlightened feminism. And helpless managers like Jiggle TV did their best to undermine whatever power viewers could get from watching women leading a popular TV show. Even Farah Fawcett once counted the state of show # 1
But then Drew Barrymore and McGee came along with a deliberate wink at their own exploitation story while playing in the very '90s "go girl." Add a batch of charismatic movie stars and Destiny's Child's anthem for financial independence, and suddenly Charlie's Angels looks fresh.
What is most surprising about the latest "Charlie's Angels", written and directed by Elizabeth Banks, who also plays the role of Bosley, how little feminism of a "go girl" from the 2000 movie has evolved for nearly 20 years. Blame the public or the lack of imagination on the part of the filmmakers, but there is nothing new about the ideas. The film even feels the need to hit the audience over the head with the message "girls can do anything" right from the start with a completely candid (and completely off) editorial showing the youngsters doing things like sports and science.
But then the question of expectations raises again: What are we really looking for in the movie "Charlie's Angels"? Not very scary. Some good acting, costumes and chemistry from the presenters, maybe. In other words, just entertain us. In this respect, the Charlie Angels for 2019 only partially succeed.
The action is beautiful and engaging, but nothing we've seen before. Kim Barrett's costumes are fantastic (love letter to sequins, hot pants and excess) as well as all the fierce makeup. As for chemistry? Well, a little missing. Part of this is due to history. These angels have no previous relationship. Sabina of Stewart and Jane Balinska are solo operators. And one (Scott) is not even an angel at all, but an engineer who got involved in the defeat because he discovered that his energy-saving device could be armed. So when things go wrong with a device and it is stolen in order to be sold on the black market, they need to learn to work together under Bosley's oh-so-fabulous and over-the-top leadership of Banks.
Stewart is having so much fun playing such a sarcastic and carnal character that it's impossible not to smile with her, but others get a little lost in the shadow of her movie star. The interaction of three magnetic stars is what made the movie from 2000 so appealing. And Stuart's delightful comedic turn is not enough to bring about a slow start.
The movie does some clever things: it doesn't erase the Angels of the past and Bosley is now a "rank" and not a single person. Sam Cloughlin, as a wealthy tech entrepreneur, and Patrick Stewart, as another Bosley, are also lively, who, like Kristen Stewart, know which movie they are in. But by the time he has found his foundation and the pace and energy that supports the flash, that's over.
"The Angel of Charlie in Angeles," by Columbia Pictures, is rated PG-13 by the American Motion Picture Association for "Action / Violence, Tongue, and Some Hints." Duration: 118 minutes. Two stars out of four.
MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents are strongly warned. Some materials may not be suitable for children under 13 years.
Follow AP movie writer Lindsay Bar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr