meryl streep kissed a girl on screen . Actually, just about every 2003 best-actress Oscar nominee kissed a woman onscreen. And the critics loved them for it. But that was all in high-minded stuff like The Hours and Frida. Now the Charlie's Angels franchise has released a lesbo-pop paean to all things beautiful, and that's a completely different thing.
I like to think of the first Charlie's Angels movie, released in 2000, as a postmodern meditation on the male gaze. It's a film that should become a standard text in any media literacy or film studies class.
Full Throttle, the sequel, is full-blown lesbian fantasy.
Why do you think Charlie's only a disembodied voice? So our heroes can keep him at a distance, of course.
Do Charlie's Angels have boyfriends? Well, sort of. Lucy Liu as Alex (dig the unisex name) has one, but he doesn't know what she does. Cameron Diaz as Natalie spends the entire film terrified her boyfriend is going to ask her to marry him. Drew Barrymore, who plays Dylan (another androgynous moniker), fears that her friends are going to get married and abandon her.
Diaz (who was hot for a girl in Being John Malkovich) does a dykey send-up of Marg Helgenberger in a spoof of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series. There's Pink, the most recent is-she-or-isn't-she pop star, in full leather gear. And a Sound Of Music interlude honours the mother (Superior) of all musical icons, Julie Andrews (Victor/Victoria) by way of Mary Martin, the original Broadway star of the show. (Yes, the latter was also Peter Pan, a vision in tights.)
Don't think for a second that these references are accidental. Every quote, whether visual or musical, is intended. The Angels creative team knows damn well that dykes love a girl in overalls. Hence, a Flashdance flurry in which our trusty trio wear full welding gear - and yank off the masks - in unison. Flip of the hair, please.
There is, among other signifiers, much gratuitous use of water, the Angels as dykes on bikes, a mud-wrestling scene, a strip scene in which the girls exchange booty slaps, and a surf sequence whose sole purpose is to unveil Demi Moore's refurbished body - OK surgery-wracked body, but hey, I said it was a lesbian, not a feminist, fantasy.
Speaking of Moore as fallen Angel Madison Lee, her crush on Angel Natalie is not exactly subtextual.
But guys, trust me and all the male critics in this city who loathed Full Throttle. You wanna stay away. This is not a movie for boys who are into girls as eye candy. It mocks boys who are into girls as eye candy. But while it mocks boys who are into girls as eye candy it turns girls into eye candy at the same time. That's what makes it a lesbian fantasy. We get to look, and laugh.
Did I mention that smart men and smart straight women will like Charlie's Angels, too? And that my teen-aged daughter loved every rockin' minute of it and doesn't know what I'm talking about? I better.
But I know I'm right on this one - it's Angels on Lesbos for sure.