One of my favourite genres of films is ‘trash cinema’, the kind of movie which you know is bad technically (ie. weak acting, poor script, etc.) but gosh darn it its still darn entertaining. Good examples of this are “Anaconda” and “Wild Things” which are both fast, fun and silly – if you get a good laugh out of the snake-regurgitated Jon Voight winking scene then you know how to appreciate good trash because they’re movies which never take themselves seriously.
The CA movie attempts to be high-production value trashy action comedy and at that it succeeds on most fronts. Everything is done over the top with a good sense of the ridiculous and a whole variety of different sequences. The girls have good chemistry together, show a hell of a lot of cleavage, dress up in some darn fancy gear and kick butt quite well.
There’s sexual fantasies in here to cater for every red-blooded heterosexual male whether they be into S&M (Lucy Liu doing a PG-13 version of her “Payback” character in a tech head lecture scene), superheroes (Cameron Diaz dancing in Spider-Man undies) or car enthusiasts (my fave – Drew Barrymore showing of one of the most amazing clevages ever on-screen having fun with an air hose and steering wheel).
Crispin Glover also puts in a really good sinister performance as a sword swashing mute ‘Creepy Thin Man’. Sadly the other performances don’t hold up as well with regularly good comic actors like Bill Murray and Tim Curry given surprisingly disappointing parts and even cameo parts like Tom Green & Matt LeBlanc are wasted though Diaz and Luke Wilson do have good scenes together – especially one in a nightclub.
As an action flick it definitely works – sure some scenes like the opening fight and the bullet-window bit give one big flashbacks to X-Men and The Matrix, but most of the time the action comes thick and fast and suits the story well – especially with McG’s knack for doing some darn cool visuals.
On the downside the action is interspersed with scenes attempting to be comic which are more just the occasional chuckle than any real laugh out loud gag – the gags in the trailer really do fairly represent the type of laughs in the movie – somewhat fun but quite dumb.
This is also odd considering the story actually has a clever twist or two with the main villain’s motivation proving relatively believable considering the flick. There’s also some subtle spoofs of “Mission: Impossible” such as the opening sequence and the ‘vault break-in’ scene (featuring Drew and Cameron with facial hair – scary).
So does it work as a trash film? Well yes it does – the flashy visuals and great chemistry of the leads manage to mostly hide a patchy script, resulting in an enjoyable 90 minutes of escapism. It’s nothing worth really rushing out to, but it is worth a look in the cinemas. As far as old TV shows turned films go, add this one to the ‘successful’ list.