I didn’t know what quite to expect from watching D.E.B.S. for the first time. So, it looks like a group of college girls who double as CIA assassins, right? OK, I can buy that, I mean, I’m a fan of Alias, so I can dig it. You’ve got Amy (Sara Foster, The Big Bounce), D.E.B. Academy’s top notch student with her pick of anywhere she wants to go; her friend, the tough and ambitious Max (Meagan Good, The Cookout), along with the younger Janet (Jill Ritchie, Herbie Fully L…aded) and the very French Dominique (Devon Aoki, Sin Cit).
At this school, where the girls learn all kinds of cool assassin and intelligence tactics, they learn about an elusive criminal named Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster, The Fast and the Furious), the “Keyser Soze” in this quaint little film, if you will. The girls manage to stake out a restaurant where Lucy is expected to be, and in the midst of battle, a chance encounter stirs up feelings in Amy that she never expected to have. So, it switches from a silly action film to a sillier romantic comedy.
Written and directed by Angela Robinson, the film’s intent seems to get muddled. Some people think that it serves as satire; others have the more conventional view of it that I mentioned before, and others (including Robinson) seem to want to say that the politics of being young and gay in America is here also, that it’s OK to be what you want. And I don’t think the politics are as subtle as you would think.
But by and large, the film is just silly. It bounces from wanting to satirize something and being clever in switching genres mid-film, but doesn’t realize that it’s not clever at all. You can see the romance between Amy and Lucy from early on, it was just a matter of how things were going to play out. The cast is improved by Holland Taylor (Legally Blonde) and Oscar nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile), but at the end of the day, it’s basically about two hot chicks who make out occasionally, and not convincingly. It’s not very imaginative for a gay/lesbian film either, and it doesn’t stay in one area long enough to get any development in the story, so both dramatically and anatomically, it didn’t do anything for me. It’s not a pleasant picture, but sometimes you, the reader, should know the work I do for you here.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is quite active and immersive for a low budget film. But it’s an action film that sounds very good and is a nice inclusion.
As explained in Robinson’s commentary, the video is shot on HD video and looks excellent, presumably to accompany some of the CGI work in the film. CGI work on a $4 million budget? It happened here. You get your choice of a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen or full frame versions, both are of very good quality.
Though the film isn’t that good, the DVD has got enough extra material that helps redeem it. It has two commentary tracks, the first by Robinson. In it, she discusses the production aspects of the film, and shares the usual backstage anecdotal material about the filming and the cast. She keeps active through the film and rarely slows up, and in her first commentary track, she’s done a pretty good one. The second is from Foster, Brewster, Good and Ritchie. This will come off as pretty sexist, but if you get 4 girls in a room talking about stuff, it kinda gets tired after awhile. My note said “it starts off annoying and stays that way”, which pretty much sums it up. Next are 5 deleted scenes totaling about 10 minutes. Aside from a wilder makeout sequence with Lucy and Amy, there’s not much you’re missing here. Along with a ,music video and animatic, a 12 minute making of featurette goes into a little detail about the origins of the story and Robinson’s work in realizing it to film (in this case, video), and it’s not bad. The original comic can be accessed on your remote, and trailers for 6 films (but not this one) complete the disc.
This is another in a sad case of the extras and DVD being better than the feature that is pressed on the silver disc medium. The film is a whole lot of inaction, despite some of the “hotties” in the cast, but the DVD is a better experience than seeing it on cable. It may even be one to rent for the girl-girl teasing if you’re desperate enough.
Special Features List
- Director Commentary
- Cast Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Making Of Featurette
- Comic Animatic
- Production Stills
- Music Video