Live Action: D.E.B.S.

March 8th, 2006

D.E.B.S. is a really cute idea with one massively huge fatal flaw.

The movie, in case you don’t know, is a longer version based on a short of the same name that made the rounds of G/L/B/T film fests a few years ago. The short got a lot of positive feedback, and the director, Angela Robinson, got funding for a longer movie-length version. The premise in both is the same – that there is an elite force of schoolgirls who fight evil and blah blah blah. Oh, and wear fetish versions of a Catholic school uniform. Of course.

Here is the official “Product Description” from the Amazon website, because frankly, it says it all, fairly coherently:

Sultry crime boss Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster, The Fast and the Furious) is back in the states (sic) and the D.E.B.S.- an elite team of paramilitary college co-ed superspies- are hot on her trail. But when their top agent, gorgeous Amy Bradshaw (Sara Foster, The Big Bounce), mysteriously disappears after coming face to face with the attractive young villainess, the D.E.B.S. begin a full-scale search for Lucy’s secret lair, never suspecting that Amy may not want to be rescued after all, in this smart and sexy spy spoof about love at first gun sight.

Okay. That about covers the plot in PR-speak. Here’s the good and bad.

Notably, the first time the DEBS are surveilling Lucy, they think she’s meeting a top assasin to plot someting evil. In fact, she’s on a blind date. I thought that was amusing.

And that’s what this movie is – amusing. It’s not really *good*, or well-acted or well-written or anything, but it is a nice hour+ worth of entertainment.

The attraction between Lucy and Amy is pretty solid. When they kiss it looks just like a kiss. They don’t kiss *enough*, but we are led to believe that they do more than that, with the usual implied bed scene. (I notice that this movie is rated PG-13. For once, I actually agree that the rating is spot on.) So no heavy bed scenes, but you know, it wouldn’t have made this movie better, and woud have just gotten tiresome, so it’s no loss to overall enjoyment.

Now, here’s the fatal flaw – the prologue of the movie tells us that buried within the SAT test is another test, the one the D.E.B.S. organization uses to recruit possible operatives. Amy, our lead, is supposed to have been the “perfect score.” They beat this to DEATH in the movie, bludgeoning both Amy and the viewer with the concept repeatedly. In frustration, Amuy finally asks what the test tested.

This is a multi-part flaw.

1) They told us in the prologue what it tested. So, how bad is our short-term memory?

The test tested the ability to lie.

2) Why would “lying” be a good quality for a spy? I’d much prefer to have someone with superior tactical abilities than someone who could lie. Also someone who could shoot, stay up for days on end without sleep, and who had excellent hearing, eyesight and memory. But that’s just me.

Now – these two complaints are just “hand-waves.” WE know what the test tested – maybe the characters don’t. And “lying” may just be the simplification for a complex set of skills. So these are not fatal flaws, just minor ones. HOWEVER…

3) Amy is the most miserable liar EVER, in all the history of girls sneaking out after curfew and lying about it. She’s nervous, awkward, obvious, uncreative and guilty. Exactly the opposite of the “perfect” liar.

So…kaboom. Fatal flaw. Watching Amy screw up the biggest lie of her life, as she rejects Lucy publicly (in a stupid, overcomplex and drawn out end scene) was excruciating. If I had been writing it, she’d have lied like a champ, then swung off in Lucy’s arms kissing her evil lover soundly in front of everyone. But that’s me. Instead they went for the tired and true “hurting Lucy’s feelings, but then repudiating the lie and going off with her”-type ending.

In any case, the girl got the girl. But the flaw really killed the end.

So, having said that, Lucy was as wondeful as Amy was awful. She made the movie watchable. And the silly love affair that crops up between Lucy’s henchdude and Amy’s co-D.E.B., was pointless and kinda cute.

I found the music video school uniforms very obnoxious, and the actresses were either hamming up everything, or just not very good at doing things like holding a gun steady, but as this was very clearly meant to be a completely over-the-top comedy parody, all those things are forgiven.

Ratings:

Story – 7
Characters (Good Guys) – 5
Characters (Bad Guys)- 7
Cinematography – 5
Yuri – 8

Overall – 7

D.E.B.S. would make a great comic book, or even novel, with the right writer. Stupid fun, no brain cells need apply. But just lovely for a rainy Sunday afternoon and a cuddle on the couch. It just BEGS for fanfic – I’m sure there’s plenty, and I don’t want to read any of it. ^_^

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9 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    In order to make sense of the whole “she’s the perfect liar but she actually really sucks at lying” bit, I interpreted the “perfect liar” thing to mean something along the lines of either:
    a) She’s entirely too good at lying to herself. For some reason the test picked up on this instead of a more potentially useful kind of lying.
    or:
    b) She’s very good about lying to the world about the KIND of person she is, though actually lying about individual details isn’t her forte.
    So, do either of those hold up? lol

    -Erin

  2. That’s certainly an exceptionally flexible interpretation!

    Why then, I have to ask, would the organization see “lying to one’s self” or “lying to the world about her true self” as a desirable quality for a candidate? Huh? Well? Tell me that, smarty pants! LOL

  3. Anonymous says:

    Theoretically it would be that the test was badly crafted and picked up on those things in addition to just plain “lying to other people about specific things.” If we can believe there’s a secret test in the S.A.T. that measures one’s ability to lie, I think we can believe that it can potentially have some flaws. ;) Although “lying about one’s true identity” is probably a useful characteristic for a spy, come to think of it.

  4. That may be theorectically true, but realistically, it’s just the plot that was badly crafted. LOL

  5. Philip72 says:

    This should have been a far more enjoyable movie than it was, but I can’t put my finger on what was wrong.
    It was lovely romantic fluff however, a nice change from most of the self-important “message” lesbian movies made in the west.

  6. kojak says:

    School uniforms suck. But girls look great in them. Anyways, Uniforms Are For The Imbeciles Who Can’t Add. Uniforms are pointless. I argue against them. Check it out on my blog.

  7. Slur says:

    Lieing is the ultimate trait, the best quality anyone can have! It can get you out of virtually any situation, if you can act you can lie your way out of anything. You can negotiate anything.
    Of course when the time comes to back things up, you might be screwed but that’s where the :superior tactical abilities: come in. As far as Amy goes, I think she was kinda purposefully not trying to lie. I think she wanted to be found out, if not then the movie would drag on and on till she made a mistake and that’d be a drag. What Anonymous said was interesting though.

  8. Gotta disagree there. The ultimate skill for anyone is learning to tell the truth brilliantly.

  9. Anonymous says:

    At least this movie isn’t about the certified lesbian, Lucy homicidally insane because she’s a lesbian.

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