The Reel Review

D+

Writer/director (and new female Bosley) Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect, The Hunger Games filmstrots out this sequel to the popular TV and film franchise, with a new group of female private investigators at the now global Townsend agency, as they go undercover to protect a whistleblowing engineer and prevent a mysterious, unidentified villain from weaponizing new power technology.

While there are a handful of clever one-liners, some cute, nostalgic winks to its predecessors and a fun, pop song-filled soundtrack, Banks’ story, for the most part, is an absolute bore, devoid of the silly charm of the films of the early 2000s. Non-stop action scenes, cute clothes, exotic locales and a very superficial nod to women empowerment fails to distract from goofy plot points and dialogue that is off the charts moronic – like, insultingly stupid. Relative unknown Ella Balinska is the lone standout in this tedious film, lending physicality and credibility to her character.  The rest of the cast either lacks charisma – Kristen Stewart (Still Alice) and Naomi Scott (Aladdin) – or in the case of the normally entertaining Patrick Stewart, Sam Claflin (Adrift) and Banks – are just downright embarrassing to watch.

You know you are in trouble when the end credits have more laughs than the entire two hour movie. Elizabeth, you were hilarious in Pitch Perfect. What happened??

REEL FACTS

• Elizabeth Banks’ directorial debut in 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2 set a record $69 million dollar opening weekend haul for a first time director. She and her husband work as a production team – Brownstone Productions

• Kristen Stewart and Sam Claflin previously worked together in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman and its sequel, 2016’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

Ella Balinska (center) with her parents

• Ella Balinska, the daughter of Food Network USA host and chef Lorraine Pascale and Polish Count Kazimierz Balinski, is skilled at stage combat, which came in handy during Charlie’s Angels‘ many action scenes.

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