Angel-A – Review

Many times, I’ll throw a movie into my rental queue simply because I read about it on another site. Sometimes, I get lucky and find something truly outstanding. Other times I go look up “crap” in a thesaurus. Angel-A sits in the median of those limits. No, Angel-A is not an average movie. It just contains equal moments of pure brilliance and utter rubbish.

Made by the same guy who did The Fifth Element, the basic premise is this: take everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, set it in Paris, and trade Clarence for a 6-foot, leggy blonde named Angela. Oh, and have everyone speak French. The plots are similar (they meet on a bridge and the movie is in black & white), but there are no “Here’s what the world would be like if you were dead” moments.

Differences aside, Angel-A really shines in the basic plot points. (But maybe that can’t be helped when you copy a formula?) Besides the obvious sight-gag of Angela towering over a wimpy French guy, the movie stays light and funny, but tackles some emotionally heavy issues. There’s a scene where the two have to dry out in the women’s restroom. After Angela is chastised for having a guy in there, she responds, “Oh him? He is a woman, too.” That scene sets up the rest of the film as Angela tries to restore this man’s masculinity. For the most part, it all works very well.

Angel-A‘s problems come with the ways Angela helps her “assignment.” As a self-described “sexy bitch,” Angela uses only her sexiness to achieve her goal (read that last sentence with your best sleazy French guy accent). In this world, “sex sells” is not only a mantra for advertising, but for angels, too.

The movie tries to give a backstory to Angela, but it’s mostly garbage. I think the director knew this so not much time is spent on it. I’d forgotten about it until it showed up at the end to make a chick-flick cheesy moment, vomit inducing.

So overall, the movie’s not horrible. It’s great in spots, but severely objectionable in others. Watch only if you’ve ever wondered what Clarence would be like as a sexy bitch.

Grade: C

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