CHARLIE’S ANGELS – Review by Susan Granger

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I didn’t go to see this when it opened – nor did many people. Elizabeth Banks wrote, directed, produced and starred in this ill-fated version, utilizing a $50 million budget, yet making a mere $8.6 million its opening weekend.

So what went wrong?

According to Banks, “If this movie doesn’t make money, if reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go to see action movies.”

When it was noted that audiences flocked to “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Marvel,” Banks said, “They’ll go to see a comic book movie because that’s a male genre. So even though these movies are about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world.”

That’s a glib excuse.

In my opinion, since there was a disappointingly generic marketing campaign, few people lined up at the box-office. Plus, there’s no star power. McG’s versions (2000 & 2003) had Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, and the original (1976) TV series featured Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jacklyn Smith.

With “Twilight,” Kristen Stewart had a big boost but she hasn’t done much recently. Here, she’s used as comic relief and co-stars Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott aren’t famous.

Then there’s John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), the crime-fighting Angels’ boss who promotes a ex-Angel (Elizabeth Banks) to management at Charles Townsend’s Agency when he retires.

The plot revolves around Elena (Naomi Scott), a systems engineer who turns whistleblower when she tries to warn her Brok Industries boss (Nat Faxon) and CEO (Sam Claflin) that their revolutionary Calisto device to create clean energy has an inherent flaw and can be easily weaponized. So Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Elena Balinska) recruit Elena to protect her.

But Aaron Spelling’s original concept has become archaic. Writer/director Elizabeth Banks’ choppy script, based on Evan Spiliotopoulos’ and David Auburn’s globe-trotting story, never delineates fully-formed characters; instead, they’re cheeky ‘dress-up’ caricatures aimed a YA audience.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Charlie’s Angels” is a feminist 4, frivolously nicknamed “Charlie’s Gayngels” in the LGBTQ community.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.