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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 4.82%
Just Average: 16.87%
Pretty Crappy: 19.28%
Sucks: 25.3%

6 reviews, 47 user ratings

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by Todd LaPlace

"The spy who loved a lesbian super villain."
2 stars

Do you ever get the feeling you’re supposed to simultaneously like and dislike a movie much more than you do? That’s the case with Angela Robinson’s “D.E.B.S.” On the one hand, it’s a sometimes sharp satirical take on the spy film genre. On the other hand, the movie is nearly always just plain stupid. Sorry Angela, as much as I want to be on the liking side, it’s hard to get over how much better the 91-minute feature was as an 11-minute short.

There’s a fine line between satire and other film genres. In order to achieve the category, you’ve got to subtly lampoon the traits of a given genre without being too on-the-nose about it. If you go too campy, you’ve hit parody territory, which is usually a spot reserved from poor one-time directors and Leslie Nielson. If you don’t roast the genre enough, you’re liable to make a cookie-cutter copy of the movies you’re supposed to be ridiculing. And no matter which way you go, it’s easy to lose track of the movie under a large pile of mockable material, which will take the film straight to the bottom of the barrel. A good film like “Scream” worked, while the average “Scream 2” was too direct (we won’t even go into the train-wreck that is “Scream 3”) and dismal “Scary Movie” was too over-the-top.

With the boundaries being as murky as they are, it’s hard to judge where an action movie about gun-toting schoolgirl crime fighters sadly titled “D.E.B.S.” is going to land. The premise sounds like it should head for parody, but treated delicately, it could achieve satire statue. Helping direct it is an 11-minute Sundance smash short that appropriately earned raves as a perfect action satire. The short followed three generically diverse heroes as they tried to rescue their captive comrade, who is actually in a romantic relationship with her female captor, all of which is done in the style of a episodic TV trailer. The short is quick and dynamic, and its barbs are always on target. So what worry is there in bulking the screenplay to feature-length and re-filming it for a national release?

Alas, “D.E.B.S.” loses all of its wit and charm during its makeover. Formerly snappy, the feature drags as it tells a 10-minute story for an hour and a half. Instead of jumping right in on the surprise twist, director/writer Angela Robinson oddly opts to build a boyfriend backstory for Amy, the D.E.B. destined to fall for the wrong woman. Amy (Sara Foster), the infallible blonde one, is known around the office as the perfect score, the little miss apple pie that was flawlessly built for spying. In fact, her only problem seems to be that she’s not in love with her hunky C.I.A. boyfriend (“7th Heaven’s” Geoff Stults), but being a leggy hottie in a plaid skirt, it doesn’t seem like she should have any trouble attracting more attention. Conveniently enough, her newest surveillance target is a sexually-frustrated lipstick lesbian named Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster). It’s an interesting enough twist, which saves the film from becoming another snoozer of an action flick. Had Amy fallen for a male villain, the premise would have worn thin pretty quick, as the novelty is pretty much the only thing that keeps the majority of this flick afloat.

Part of the problem might be Robinson’s rookie status, as she seems unsure how to take the film to new territory. She brought the lesbian-tweek to the table, but seems to have given her video library a workout to fill in the rest of the story. Amy’s D.E.B. teammates are all one-dimensional stereotypes that could be substituted for mannequins without much difficulty. There’s Max (Meagan Good), the angry black one in boots; Janet (Jill Richie, the lone short film transplant), the naïve white one in a frilly shirt; and Dominique (Devon Aoki), the sexy foreign smoker in high heels. The plot dissolves into teen movie territory as the girls talk boys, cute sweaters and tactical maneuvers. This isn’t the biting satire we’ve signed on for. The movie shows occasional snippets of brilliance — there’s always someone running by to narrate key plot elements, Lucy’s right-hand henchman acting more like a pimp than a criminal — but Robinson rarely strays too far from her banal narrative structure. Any credibility the film might have had is quickly destroyed by staging the climax, of course, at the prom, annoying referred to as the “Endgame.” For the most part, there seems to be so much more potential in the formula than Robinson capitalizes on — the film never explores the D.E.B.S. academy in terms of being a school, with cliques, student council and a cross country team — which is a shame because it’s hard to make a case for watching a full feature when speeding through the short is so much more satisfying.

“D.E.B.S.” reminds me a lot of 2001’s “Sugar and Spice,” another satire of an action subgenre using teenage girls. Leaving that one, I was left with the same feeling of ambivalence. In both, the satirical elements are all there, but the filmmakers never seem sure as to what kind of picture they’re making. Sadly, the commentary always takes a backseat to turning the film into just another teeny-bopped crapfest.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8504&reviewer=401
originally posted: 10/02/05 04:01:09
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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

12/20/20 bored mom Aoki and Good are super sexy, but then there's the rest of the movie. 1 stars
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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