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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 4.88%
Just Average: 17.07%
Pretty Crappy: 19.51%
Sucks: 24.39%

6 reviews, 46 user ratings

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by Peter Sobczynski

"The First Spy Movie to Climax at a Prom"
3 stars

With ads that suggest a combination of gunplay, dumb humor, fabulous-looking babes prancing around in tiny schoolgirl outfits and the not-so-subtle promise of the love that dare not speak its name (at least not without a two-drink minimum being involved), “D.E.B.S.” looks like a movie produced by and for the editorial board of “Maxim,” a notion that would a cause for celebration for some and bitter weeping for others. To give the film credit, it isn’t simply a idiotic jigglefest along the lines of “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” The problem, though, is that it really much of anything at all. It has a couple of slightly amusing jokes, a game cast and even a potentially intriguing idea or two, but they are cast adrift in a film that doesn’t quite know what to do with them or how to pull them together in any particularly compelling manner.

The conceit of the film is that the American government is recruiting an elite squad of international crime-fighting tartan-skirted schoolgirls through a secret aptitude test hidden in the SAT. Using the brains, bodies and ability to cloud the minds of most men, particularly those carrying lots of dollar bills, they are deployed to save the world from unimaginable evil without ever smearing their lip gloss, though not without the occasional snag or two. (“Remember when you got drunk and nearly got the chancellor of Bulgaria killed?”) Our squad of heroine hotties consists of no-nonsense leader Max (Meagan Goode), Franglish sex kitten Dominique (Devon Aoki), goody-goody Janet (Jill Ritchie) and Amy (Sara Foster), who is already a D.E.B.S. legend for being the only person to get a perfect score on the hidden test, even though she still isn’t sure whether she wants to be a spy or study art history in Barcelona.

Their latest mission: It seems that supervillain Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster) has returned to town after an absence of three years, during which she apparently killed many agents in Antarctica and plotted the death-ray destruction of Australia. Tipped off that she is meeting in a restaurant with an equally fearsome Russian assassin (Jessica Cauffiel), the D.E.B.S. go into action and dangle over the diners while doing surveillance until their cover is blown when Amy’s ex-boyfriend, another spy, butts in and acts like a dope. What they don’t know is that the meeting between Lucy and the assassin is nothing more than a bad blind date and Lucy is almost relieved when the ensuing gun battle allows her to escape. As the fight progresses, she gets the drop on Amy, but instead of killing her, Lucy surprises her foe by asking her out on a date.

Amy is shocked and, of course, refuses–it would be treasonous to date the enemy and besides, she’s a girl! Lucy isn’t one to give up that easily and, later that night, kidnaps Amy and takes her out to some strange, late-night club where Amy realizes that they have more in common than she could have anticipated. At first, Amy is confused by her growing feelings for Lucy but soon gives in; she fakes her own kidnapping and goes off on a romantic montage with her former foe, where she also realizes that Lucy’s devilish reputation does not quite jibe with the actual facts. Meanwhile, her fellow D.E.B.S. are in hot pursuit and finally track Amy down, where they discover her and Lucy in a situation that might have been considered in flagrante delicto, if it weren’t for that pesky PG-13 rating. Amy is forced to deny her true feelings for Lucy in order to save the futures of her friends; Lucy responds first by wallowing in her misery (only here, she eschews the Ben & Jerry’s and instead goes for the death ray) and then by trying to repent to win her true love back. It all ends with a sight I never thought that I would see in a film–a spy movie with a climax sets during the Senior Prom.

The basic premise of the film seems to have been to create a sly inversion of the classic James Bond film “Goldfinger,” in which our hero managed to flip villainous lesbian Pussy Galore with one (literal) roll in the hay. Although seemingly outdated, that is as good an idea as any to base a movie on, but the problem with Angela Robinson’s feature debut is that it is all premise and zero follow-through. Instead of coming up with a amusing or interesting method of subverting brainless action-movie cliches, she is content to simply revel with them and while the idea of gorgeous girls taking the central roles of heroes and villains might sound vaguely revolutionary, the simple fact is that a show like “Alias,” even in its weakest moments, expertly skewers genre expectations on a weekly basis while still remembering to be funny and exciting at the same time.

There is one aspect to “D.E.B.S.” that I did like, though it is the one that the ads are taking great pains to play down–the budding relationship between Lucy and Amy. Although it could have easily been played for smutty laughs or as an excuse for gratuitous T&A, Robinson plays it fairly straight–or as straight as possible under the circumstances–and the result is a fairly plausible depiction of what occurs when someone discovers that their heart is wired in a manner other than the way prescribed by conventional society. A lot of credit for this is also due to the performances from Brewster and Foster in the roles. The two have a nice, easy on-screen byplay and they somehow manage to carve out a convincing relationship between their character amidst all of the other silliness. Granted, it isn’t going to make anyone forget “Boys Don’t Cry” or “Show Me Love” anytime soon, but it does serve as a welcome respite from the rest of the nonsense.

“D.E.B.S.” is the kind of movie that has only one joke to tell and, unlike its characters, it isn’t nearly flexible enough to stretch it out for 90 minutes. The film began life as a short subject, also written and directed by Robinson, and while I haven’t seen that version, I suspect that it probably worked better in that format than it does here since it wouldn’t have been necessary to pad out the good stuff (the Lucy/Amy relationship) with nonsense filler (which is practically everything else). It isn’t a particularly hateful film–besides Brewster and Foster, the cast is game and amusing and Robinson occasionally shows a flair for staging kicky eye candy–and I can see lingering on it for a few minutes if I stumbled upon it on cable some time down the road. Until then, though, “D.E.B.S.”, despite its potential, is the kind of film where the poster winds up delivering far more entertainment than the thing it is meant to be promoting.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8504&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/25/05 01:58:14
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/02/11 Charles Tatum Not nearly as clever as it thinks it is 2 stars
2/21/11 art "A REAL CLASSIC",give me a BRAKE! 1 stars
5/17/10 Timmy Awful unfunny mess 1 stars
12/06/09 art THIS FILM SHOULD BE PUT ON A BONFIRE! 1 stars
7/18/09 JOZNEE I Love it. . . !!!!!!!EXCELLENT MOVIE..JORDANA BREWSTER lookSS Hot. 5 stars
6/25/09 Leslie A fun story and great casting! 5 stars
10/07/08 Enry Wiki SEEN TWICE! Funny,original, yet subversive in presenting seriously a girl2girl relationship 5 stars
8/12/07 Friducha This is Lez camp at its best - if you dont like it, you dont get it... 5 stars
7/26/07 Katrina The movie trailer was decieving, didn't know anything about this movie, kind of shocking 2 stars
6/03/07 gansta dis movie is de bomb 5 stars
5/07/07 Chris Cute flick! Unrealistic of course, but a great Friday night movie! Cute! 5 stars
10/10/06 amber I loved it! It was cute and fun! 5 stars
9/27/06 Phiuk Yiu This movie sucks, no good action scenes and Lucy Diamond is a joke. Lesbian kissing? Good 1 stars
8/19/06 harkharjit a film full of excitement nd irony but some action was lacking 5 stars
10/19/05 tabitha its mint i love it watch the film with the actresses comments its halerious 5 stars
10/10/05 Tom Burns Not that good, some very hot girls though are in it. 2 stars
9/25/05 a. kurlovs creative, packed w/fun and laughs, completely unpretentious, and the soundtrack is great. 5 stars
8/24/05 Dogfish Oh,my God,it is very fine indeed 5 stars
8/21/05 Kym i just love the movie. ^_^ Jordana and Sara so hot!. 5 stars
8/08/05 Nampetch I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/07/05 Tabata B. Iuspa i justy love the movie. its message ut pretty cool 5 stars
7/28/05 Kat It was a hoot - a happy funny silly spoof 5 stars
6/28/05 T It's silly, campy fun. You won't learn any Life Lessons, but eh. 5 stars
6/23/05 sally angwin this film opened the melbourne queer film festiival and it went down big time 5 stars
6/08/05 Lindi I loved this movie! It had action, comedy, and Jordana Brewster!! I couldn't ask for more! 5 stars
5/11/05 amin sax 1 stars
3/25/05 Greg Ursic I liked the tongue-in-cheek styling mixed with some serious messages. Great soundtrack! 3 stars
3/19/05 Mark McLeod funny sort of charlie's angel type film.. 4 stars
10/14/04 Denise Sudell Cute genre parody. Jordana Brewster steals every scene, and is great eye candy to boot. 3 stars
10/10/04 Nathalie I friggin loved it! 5 stars
9/22/04 Jenni Sahramaa Great! 5 stars
9/18/04 Grace Just Terrible! 1 stars
8/16/04 sara funny is the less thing i can say. 5 stars
7/01/04 jeffrey Cute & fun movie. I'm sure they won't mind being compared to Charlies Angels in High schoo 4 stars
6/23/04 Lauren Nissen wow...this movie was pretty bad 2 stars
6/15/04 Brent Usry A pathetic over rated copy of about every film lately. Charlies Angeles Specifically! 1 stars
5/02/04 kate shaffer great fun film! 5 stars
4/23/04 Cristiana The most funny movie I've seen lately 5 stars
2/18/04 Randy Excellent Movie 5 stars
2/12/04 Sergio Vitale Probably the first lesbian funny movie!!! 4 stars
1/29/04 Katie Swanson What are they guys talking about? THIS is FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY! 5 stars
1/27/04 Katie This movie is pretty funny its not award worthy but I think its better than most comedys 4 stars
1/26/04 JJ saw at sundance very funny likeable silly sweet spoof -go see this movie 5 stars
1/26/04 Jimmy Chang there are lesbians and there is Devon Aoki!! No ?s asked 5 stars
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  25-Mar-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005



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