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Nadja Klier, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Review: Elizabeth Banks' 'Charlie's Angels' reboot isn't perfect, but it's fun

By Jacob Klopfenstein, | Posted - Nov. 14, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

THE TOWNSEND AGENCY — Remakes and sequels are becoming increasingly prominent for moviegoers in 2019.

Seven out of the U.S. box office’s current top 10 movies of 2019 are either remakes or sequels, according to Box Office Mojo. They’re a safe bet for studios wanting to make a good return on their investment.

“Charlie’s Angels,” though, isn’t a sequel anyone necessarily expected or asked for. So it has no business being as fun and enjoyable as it is.

Elizabeth Banks’ reboot of the female-fronted franchise is nothing special, but it’s perfectly adequate for what it’s aiming for: an entertaining, no-strings-attached action blockbuster.

While the dialogue is very cheesy at times, and the last act is messy, an excellent cast helps make this a mostly successful film. “Charlie’s Angels” may not be totally heavenly filmmaking, but it is fun as hell.

Here’s a rundown of what worked and what didn’t.

The cast is excellent

Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska are both great as the two main angels in the film, and Naomi Scott is charming as the film’s third lead character.

Though Stewart is best known for doing a lot of sulking in the “Twilight” films, she provides much of the comic relief in “Charlie’s Angels,” and she shows some impressive range. Her performance is delightful.

Balinska’s angel is the more serious and straight-laced of the pair, but the two have some good chemistry together.

Scott, who played Princess Jasmine in Disney’s “Aladdin” remake earlier this year, plays a brilliant scientist who gets unexpectedly thrown into the Angels’s spy escapades. Scott’s exuberant presence fits right into the lighthearted film.

Banks also stars as Bosley, one of the handlers of the angels. Unfortunately, much of the cast, aside from those four, is underutilized — especially Patrick Stewart and Noah Centineo.

The dialogue gets cheesy

Many of the jokes in “Charlie’s Angels” land, and the dialogue is mostly adequate. However, there were some really cheesy joke attempts where I found myself scoffing in exasperation.

The writers could have used a little more restraint or editing during their process. Some silliness is appropriate for a zany spy caper movie, but sometimes the jokes go a little overboard here.

The ending is messy

As you might expect from a spy thriller, the final act of “Charlie’s Angels” includes a lot of twists and turns and double-crossing. All that gets way too convoluted in the final act of “Charlie’s Angels,” which I felt was the weakest part of the film.

The messaging is a little heavy-handed

Banks’s screenplay has a strong and clear message of female empowerment.

While the message is genuine and well-intentioned, it is a little forced at times. While it’s a great and important message, it gets thrown in your face from time to time in the film, which I found somewhat distracting.

On the other hand, an older character pokes fun at a Gen Xer’s desire to “disrupt” an industry in a sarcastic nod to the world of tech startups, and those jokes were unexpectedly clever.

Is it worth watching?

I was pleasantly surprised by “Charlie’s Angels.” It isn’t exceptional filmmaking by any means, but it is an enjoyable and entertaining two hours in the theater.

People who like spy-thriller movies will find something to love, and if you’re a fan of the “Charlie’s Angels” franchise, you’ll want to check this one out. In an era where bland remakes are becoming nearly unavoidable, this one manages to feel somewhat fresh. Check tomorrow for a content guide for parents for the film.

“Charlie’s Angels” is rated PG-13 for action/violence, language and some suggestive material.

Jacob Klopfenstein

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