Sara Foster as Amy
Jordana Brewster as Lucy
Devon Aoki as Dominique
Jill Ritchie as Janet
Meagan Good as Max
Michael Clarke Duncan as President of D.E.B.S. Academy
Holland Taylor as Headmistress
Geoff Stults as Bobby
Jimmi Simpson as Scud
Jessica Cauffiel as Ninotchka
Scoot McNairy as Stoner
Ryan Xavier as Hutch
Eric Bochniarz as David
Michael Mastro as Kirk
J.B. Ghuman Jr. as Dustin
Jenny Mollen as German Deb
Mixing the plot of a softcore porn flick with the dialogue from a bad sitcom, D.E.B.S. makes Charlie’s Angels seem intelligent!
The D.E.B.S. are beautiful co-eds recruited to become government agents against crime and terrorism. Problems arise within the leading D.E.B.S team when their leader Amy (Sara Foster) falls for the evil Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster). But is the agency upset that she’s fraternizing with the enemy or the fact that she may be turning a lesbian?
Apparently, the story of D.E.B.S. goes something like this. Director Angela Robinson created a short film that proved so popular at the Sundance Film Festival that she decided to expand on the premise to create a feature length film. Having never seen the short, I can’t vouch for its supposed charm, but I can understand how sexy young women running around in Catholic schoolgirl outfits might be a popular idea.
Essentially, the simple premise for the film is that high school girls who are proven to have aptitude are trained to be government agents or D.E.B.S. and then put into dangerous situations. In their latest mission, the lead D.E.B.S. team are assigned to follow and and discover the secret plans of criminal mastermind Lucy Diamond-yes, that’s really her name-who is meeting a top female Russian assassin for dinner. Turns out that the evil terrorist has been lonely, but since she prefers women, this dinner is a blind date. When she quite literally bumps into Amy, it’s love at first sight, at least for Lucy. Amy is a bit more confused, and the rest of her team are not supportive of her choice in love interests. Lucy starts committing crimes to get Amy’s attention, before kidnapping her so that they can spend a bit of quality alone time together.
It has all the makings of a plot for one of Cinemax’s infamous late night movies, except that D.E.B.S. has no nudity and not much sex except for a few scenes of Jordana Brewster and Sara Foster kissing and rolling around on a bed.
Otherwise, there seems to be little point in telling this story within a spy movie framework, as it could just have easily been told with ordinary high school girls. Foster’s Amy is the “good girl” who wants to be “bad”, not that Lucy Diamond, as played by Brewster, is particularly evil or even half as dangerous as everyone seems to make her; she’s more playful and mischievous. There’s Max the tough African-American girl who wants to be team leader, played by Meghan Good in the movie’s one decent performance, and Janet, the ugly duckling who can’t seem to do anything right. Both of them try to use Amy’s indiscretions to further their own careers.
Of course, every spy movie has to have a Russian agent named Ninotchka, complete with a horrendous exaggerated accent, but even that doesn’t compare to the awful French accent sported by Devin Aoki (2 Fast 2 Furious), the chain-smoking sex addict of the group, of course. Michael Clarke Duncan, the film’s “big name” draw, appears for under ten minutes as the D.E.B.S. Academy headmaster, essentially doing an impression of Charles Townsend AKA “Charlie.” It’s another poor movie choice in the spiraling career of an actor whose Oscar nomination most people have already forgotten. (Both Aoki and Duncan also appear in Frank Miller’s Sin City, and at least Aoki doesn’t talk in that one.)
The movie looks decent enough, being shot in high definition video, but the production values are just so low. It’s hard to believe that they would shell out the clams to license songs by The Cure, New Order and Erasure-for a particularly lame sing-along moment, no less-rather than putting some of that money into making the sets look even halfway realistic. The worst part is when Amy and Janet walk into Lucy Diamond’s favorite hangout, a punk/techno club, and the extras in the background can’t even pretend to be having fun as they dance poorly. I guess when you have such weak leads, you have to make sure that the extras don’t outshine them.
Sure, it’s all done in fun, but for a comedy, D.E.B.S. is quite devoid of any actual laughs. It’s just a big, stupid, poorly produced mess filled with sappy dialogue about love and friendship, which leads to the question about who Robinson made this movie for. Would teen girls have any interest in seeing a bunch of actresses running around kicking butt and making out with each other? Who knows? Certainly, guys can appreciate Robinson’s sneaky way of shooting up the girls’ short dresses any chance she gets, and of course, the cast is sexy and attractive. Some guys may even find the idea of two women kissing to be quite titillating, completely forgetting that they’re only doing so because they prefer that over being with sweaty, hairy men like them.
As appalled as I was that Robinson was able to get financing for this debacle, I was even more shocked to learn that she had been given the plum assignment of directing Disney’s first “Love Bug” movie in eight years. Who knows what sort of sexy camera angles she’ll be able to use on Lindsay Lohan to insure that horny middle-aged men flock to see Herbie: Fully Loaded, but she obviously didn’t get that gig because of her ability to write or direct.