D.E.B.S. (2004)


My favorite part of the movie made it into the trailer!  “You need to speak English OR French, Franglish is not a language.”

This movie had a budget of $3.5million and had a box office of $97,446.

Jordana Brewster and Meagan Good were great.  Sara Foster was an insipid Amy.  Jill Ritchie was pretty funny.  Devon Aoki was great as a Japanese-German-English rich girl playing a snooty French girl – totally works.  Funny thing about Miho is that she can trick you into thinking she plays a great sultry character with a blunted affect but in reality she’s just a bitch who thinks she’s entitled.

Considering the inspiration of the original short film, this one is tepid.  I did enjoy how almost all the characters, props and elements of the short made it into the full-length film.  Well, with one notable exception.  It takes 30 minutes in 2004 to get to an almost kiss when it only takes 5 minutes in 2003 to get to partially undressed lesbians fingering each other to voluble climax.  The hook of a lesbian love story goes mostly under the radar and most audiences were probably surprised to find that was the focus of the plot when they’d come for hot chicks in mini-skirts.  Add to that a PG-13 rating which basically takes the teeth out of this movie and makes it a pastiche cheesy teen romance movie.  That frustration is prescient of a later movie named Sucker Punch.  I’ve heard a lot of the third-wave and post-wave feminist dissections over the vices and virtues of that particular movie but not so much about DEBS.  And yet you can’t argue that similarities between the two exist in their depiction of women.  Where was Sinead O’Connor 10 years ago?

Fake intelligence agency.  Dubious covert operations.  Asexual filming of attractive women playing spy-college girls in fetish schoolgirl clothing.  Supervillain woman pursued by covert agency.  Surveillance.  Intelligence gathering.  Gunfights.  Staring off at a sunset.  A sort of Kissing Jessica Stein mixed with Agent Cody Banks?

There are 3 things that would make this movie different from its peers: a predominately female covert agency, the delightful schoolgirl fantasy costumes, and the lesbian love story.  None of these are exploited fully and it seems the folks making this movie thought it would be enough to just have them there.  There are plenty of spy movies and spy spoofs and some of them even have gender-centric agencies; it isn’t a novel idea.  Wardrobe made their attempt with costume design but one of the main selling points in advertising the movie was about as sexy as if they’d been wearing sweatpants during the filming.  Yes, it was fun to see two girls in the rom-com roles but either Sara Foster was really that banal or the movie suffered from fatal poor directing.

It wasn’t an excruciating experience watching this movie, unlike some, but via various reasons it missed the mark.


p.s.  It’s not that there weren’t believable moments about the difficulties a budding lesbian relationship might face but they were superficial.  The fact is, as adorable as Brewster was, if you replace her with a guy – it wouldn’t change much.  If the goal had been stated that LGBT relationships are the same as straight then it would have been a statement successfully made.  It’s a point worth making but while this movie was fun, it lacked the substance to say much about anything.

p.p.s.  Is the title a nod to Debbie Does Dallas?