I was one of the very few people who saw the new “Charlie’s Angels” movie this week.
The film, which was written and directed by Elizabeth Banks, an incredibly funny and talented actress/director who has enjoyed huge success with the “Pitch Perfect” series, is a pile of wokeness and feminist/#MeToo stereotypes that I can’t believe made it past the cutting room floor. So far, it’s a box office failure — and justifiably so. And so far, the same excuses are being made for it, as was for the terrible “Ghostbusters” remake — clearly if Americans don’t want to see it, it’s something or other about misogyny and not being ready for female heroes.
That logic would make sense if, say, there weren’t hugely successful movies like “Aliens,” “The Hunger Games,” “Wonder Woman,” “Captain Marvel,” the majority of the last “Star Wars” releases, “Suicide Squad,” “Harry Potter” (tell me Hermione wasn’t a hero there), and the last “Charlie’s Angels” reboots — you get the point. If you make good films, you’ll sell tickets and have a great success with female leads. When you make bad films, like the last “Ghostbusters,” which took quite possibly the four most-talented female comedians of a generation and squandered them on a terrible reboot and script that no one asked for, then couple it with a marketing strategy that tells men that, similar to not voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, if you don’t like it, you hate women, people aren’t going to like your film.
After an opening action scene where the “Angels” are successful on a mission, the film cuts to nonsensical opening credits that look like generic stock footage of little girls playing sports and achieving dreams — something directly out of a self-help video. This video is accompanied by the movie’s theme song, which is oddly titled “Don’t Call Me Angel” and has lyrics telling men that woke women don’t want to be talked down to with that nickname. Why? Because of feminism or empowerment or something.
Throughout the remainder of the film, we learn that every man is bad except one dumb one who is cute and has a crush on one of the (am I allowed to call them “Angels?”). For those of you who haven’t seen either movie, this is the exact same treatment of men that is given in “Ghostbusters” reboot.
The lead female characters (again, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to call them “Angels” since the theme song tells me not to) are talked down to by men, told they aren’t good enough, told to smile more and basically whatever other generic sexist thing that has happened to a woman in the workplace. The bad boss even has a self-locking door in his office a la Matt Lauer and has a leash put on one of the women at the end for no reason — again more over-the-top feminist/#MeToo symbolism.
And for bonus points, they of course beat a few of the men by, you guessed it, kicking them in between their legs — how brave and powerful.
The film is so woke and feminist that what should be a fun, dumb action movie turns into a complete mess. It was as if they just wanted to be political and happened to have $48 million and a franchise that didn’t need rebooting to do it with.
The sad thing is that this could have been a good movie — as could have “Ghostbusters” — if the films were made to be fun adventures that just happened to have female heroes. In all of the films I mentioned above, and many more, a great film was written with great lead characters that just so happened to be female. The stories were riveting, classic and gave little girls someone to look up to or want to be. The women were powerful heroes without having to literally spell out that they were super-feminists fighting misogyny every time they were on screen.
“Charlie’s Angels” tries so hard to do that that they literally show random little girls playing in the opening credits for no reason whatsoever, then follows up by doing everything short of re-accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexually harassing women to bring home their point — where if the talented Ms. Banks had simply focused on making a fun action film, I think she’d have a mega-hit and a franchise on her hands.
I’m willing to bet that this over-blown wokeness resonates in inner-circles and their media friends in Hollywood — it has to if this script and film were greenlit — but it’s too much for a world and audience that wants to escape politics, not have politics regurgitated to them, when they go to a movie theater.
Hollywood should learn from “Charlie’s Angels” failure, but it won’t.
Also, I’m still not sure if I’m allowed to call them “Angels.”
• Tim Young is a political comedian and author of “I Hate Democrats/I Hate Republicans” (Post Hill Press).