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Review: 'Charlie's Angels' is a slice of silly escapism

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Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska and Elizabeth Banks star in Charlie's Angels.{ }(Photo: Sony)

Charlie’s Angels
3 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Elizabeth Banks
Writers: Elizabeth Banks, Evan Spiliotopoulos, David Auburn
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG-13 for action/violence, language and some suggestive material

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: When a young scientist fears that her research can be weaponized, she calls on Charlie’s Angels to stop the new technology from being released.

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Review: Dating back to the original television series, “Charlie’s Angels” has always been a mix of fashion, kitsch, camp, comedy and action. I was too young to notice the original series during its five-season run between 1976 and 1981. I did catch a few glimpses of the re-runs, but it never captured my attention. I think I was culturally required to see the 2000 film and obligated by some sense of completism to see its sequel. I came into the 2019 film with no real expectations or a sense of nostalgia.

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When it comes to spy films, I’m a far bigger fan of those that take themselves seriously. The only exception I can think of is Paul Feig’s “Spy.” So, I was initially disappointed with the comedic tone of “Charlie’s Angels.” Which is ridiculous. You can’t make a serious “Charlie’s Angels.”

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Having put myself in check, I kicked back and mostly enjoyed “Charlie’s Angels” as a slice of silly escapism. The plot is gleefully built entirely on tropes and clichés. The cast is reasonably good. Only Patrick Stewart seems to be taking things seriously (as well he should). Kristen Stewart chews up the scenery, Naomi Scott plays smart and naïve and Ella Balinska generally impresses in everything she does in the film.

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I have issues with the way some of the action sequences were filmed. Director Elizabeth Banks (who also stars, produces and co-wrote) relies on tight shots, rather than pulling the camera back to show the choreography, but it's never to the point of being completely incoherent.

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There’s little to no depth and only the slightest of character development in the script, but “Charlie’s Angels” was always going to be a film that was more “Austin Powers” than it is “Mission: Impossible.” It’s vapid but entertaining.