This is over-the-top, truly bad girl power stuff. This is not good film-making by any stretch of the imagination but I am reliably informed I laughed through most of it, either at the genuinely funny moments or at the really bad jokes and 1980s retro clich? which are abundant.

There are some odd casting and script decisions. John Cleese is a totally wasted opportunity. He plays the befuddled father of the Lucy Liu character and gets to employ none of his characteristic over-the-top humour. Using Bernie Mac for the replacement Bosley character is a bad move. Mac runs through all the usual black clich?(okay, it’s film-as-clich?ut there is a limit) to very little effect as either humour or a contribution to the action. This is one of the film’s major flaws, on its own terms, that is. There will be many arguments over the decision to use a much slimmed-down Demi Moore as the bad Angel. I thought she was just right. And original Angels fans will enjoy the appearance of the one, the only, Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith).

Overall, this is Cameron Diaz’s film. Whereas Drew Barrymore just edged the other two in the first film, Diaz is so-o-o ditzy in this it’s hard not love her for it. She steals just about every scene she is in, especially the opening scene which you should not miss under any circumstances whatsoever.

My impression is that straight men will think this film is totally naff (it is) and heterosexual male reviewers have, by and large, loathed it. But gals of all persuasions will appreciate the girl buddy angle and not worry about the lack of a coherent plot and a serious need for editing. Indeed, it’s hard to recall many recent films, whether art house or mainstream, where a good 20-minute to half-hour prune would not have gone astray. If I had been able to review the first Charlie’s Angels film, I would have given it five stars, purely for its good time, chicks rule aesthetic. This gets only four stars due to its meandering moments and bad casting decisions. Of course, a serious review would give it one and a half but since when did we always need to be serious?

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