D.E.B.S. found a reasonable degree of success by playing at various gay and lesbian film festivals around the world, although has a much wider appeal than this niche market. (Part of the problem with selling D.E.B.S. was apparently distributors scratching their heads over what niche to pitch it to). D.E.B.S. is an extremely funny film, in fact far more so than any other film to come out of the Austin Powers spy spoof fad. The moves are wittily parodistic the girls charge into action wearing school uniforms with skirts that are so short as to almost prove indecent while wielding absurdly augmented guns that are nearly as big as they are. Director Angela Robinson spoofs the Bond gadgetry Jordana Brewsters break-in to the D.E.B.S. headquarters, where she is seen cutting through the forecefield with a glasscutter, skipping across the laser grid on a lawn like it was hopscotch squares and scaling a wall using sucker tips that make cute little plink noises, is hilarious. Robinson spoofs the action moves although for all that, she seems almost entirely disinterested in directing any actual action scenes. Rather she has much more fun subverting the poses. A covert meeting at a restaurant between two lethal women turns out to really be a date So youre an assassin? Whats that like? while a John Woo-styled Mexican standoff between Sara Foster and Jordana Brewster turns into an hilarious scene of mutual attraction. Angela Robinsons forte is a near-perfect touch with deadpan comedy and in being able to throw in all manner of wittily off-the-cuff straight-faced gags be it turning the four D.E.B.S. sitting on a perch covertly surveilling the restaurant into almost a piece of minimalist theatre where the distances moved apart signify what is going on, to hilarious little throwaway gags about Lucys Target sweater and jewelled handcuff presents. One of the funniest parts of the film is the montage of scenes as Lucy tries to go straight.
Angela Robinson has also chosen an extremely good cast of unknowns. In the central role is Sara Foster who has to be one of the tallest lead actresses that I have ever seen in a film (and with the mini-skirt she is outfitted in, she comes across as looking three-quarters legs). Sara Foster is one of the understated strengths of the film, playing the absurdities with a remarkable seriousness and complete straight face. Jordana Brewster sparkles in a role that has clearly been modelled on Demi Moore in Charlies Angels: Full Throttle (2003). Be it playing out a truly amazing scene of eye flirtation upon first meeting Sara Foster or cheerfully bursting into D.E.B.S. Hq to ask for a date, Jordana Brewster has a charmingly twinkly flirtatiousness to her performance that steals a large part of the film. Equally good is Meagan Good who plays her part with considerable sass and forthright strength. The scene stealer of the show though proves to be Devon Aoki who subsequently appeared in Sin City (2005) who plays the entire role in deadpan sour-face, managing to break the audience into hysterics every time she lights up another of her cigarettes.
Angela Robinson had earlier made the film as an 11-minute short D.E.B.S. (2003), which also featured Jill Ritchie. The short essentially played as a promo for a mythical tv series a la Charlies Angels. Robinson was granted a modest B-budget to expand the idea to a feature film. After making such a wittily subversive gay film, Robinson was then chosen by Disney to direct the big-budget family film Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), although that lacked any of the scintillating wit that D.E.B.S. has. Subsequently, D.E.B.S., Robinson has worked in television and made no other films until the upcoming Charles Marston biopic Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman (2017).
Full film available online here:-