D.E.B.S.
2005
Encrypted within the SAT is a secret test that measures a girl's potential for espionage. Amy, Janet, Dominique and Max score so high that they're recruited to join the elite paramilitary group known as D.E.B.S.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

Who is this movie made for? It's marketed as a campy spy-sorority action movie, but it has very little action, all filmed incoherently. It's stupid enough that I thought maybe it was intended as an empowerment film for teenaged girls, but 90% of the plot involves a lesbian romance, and one in which a homicidal criminal seduces a good-natured college girl no less. Lesbian audiences are not the pickiest people around (see the success of "Better Than Chocolate"), but I can't imagine them getting behind this unflattering portrayal, in which the lesbian elements are essentially a tease for horny guys in the audience. This was a germ of a good idea for a comic strip, and maybe it made for a good 11-minute action short, but it doesn't begin to support a feature film because there seems to be no plan here, no aim or purpose to the film. It is said in the making-of featurette on the DVD that the script was written in a matter of hours and the pitch was greenlit on the spot by a studio executive, and the film plays that way.

I would still complain about the movie running in ten different directions even if one of them worked, but it can't seem to get a single element right. The plot is implausible beyond even the most tolerant suspension of disbelief, especially after the D.E.B.S. catch one of their own in bed with the villain, walk away from them both, and then grill that member for days about the whereabouts of the villain. Its characters are not people but empty ciphers, primarily distinguishable by their race. (Why does the black one have to be bossy and aggressive?) The villain is supposed to be 21 but comes across like a world-weary thirty-something, making the seduction even creepier. The headmistress character is apparently brain-damaged for no reason other than to make the D.E.B.S. look smart in contrast, which just makes the film even more baffling to watch. The villainess has a few funny lines ("I'm blowing up Australia." "Why?" "I don't like their attitude!") while her loyal henchman seems to have a good fifty or sixty IQ points on everybody else and is perpetually bemused about it, but otherwise there's nothing to recommend. This film proves once again that a good premise should be the starting point for the movie, not the only point.

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