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Reviewed by: Wayne A. Klein
Genre: Action/comedy
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages English
Subtitles English
Length 91 minutes
Rating PG-13
Release Date 6/7/05
Studio Sony Home Video
Commentary: Commentary track 1 features director Angela Robinson, two features actresses Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster, Jill Richie and Meagan Good
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: “Infilitrating D.E.B.S.”,
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: “Man of the House”, “Hitch”, “The Brooke Ellison Story”, “xXx: Director’s Cut”, “Spanglish”
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: “Into the Morning” by The Weekend
Other: Animatic scene, D.E.B.S. original comic book art
Cast and Crew: Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster, Jill Ritchie, Meagan Good, Devon Aoki, Michael Clarke Duncan, Holland Taylor, Geoff Stults, Scott McNairy, Jessica Cauffiel
Written By: Angela Robinson
Produced By: Jasmine Kosovic, Andrea Sperling
Directed By: Angela Robinson
Music: Messy, Steven Stern
The Review:

A post-modern spy spoof with a twist, “D.E.B.S.” originated as a short film and was expanded with $4 million (with an original budget of $ 2 million) by a Screen Gems executive that saw the potential for this teen spy caper. Crossing the spy spoof “Cody Banks” with a subplot about the lead spy coming out as a lesbian might not seem like a recipe for success but the film is surprisingly sweet and funny. For gay teens there aren’t a lot of positive films about the discovery of who they are, acceptance of their peers and feeling “different”. Clearly this film was a labor of love for Robinson and she handles most of the film with a deft hand and sense of humor. ***

The D.E.B.S. are a group of school age teens that have been trained by the government to do covert missions. The D.E.B.S. are shy Amy (Sara Foster), the headstrong leader Max (Meagan Good), bubbly Janet (Jill Ritchie) and amorous man eating Dominique (Devon Aoki). Their latest mission given to them by the mysterious Mr. Phipps (Duncan) is to capture the criminal mastermind Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster). Chaffing under the leadership of Mrs. Peatree (Holland Taylor), the girls feel they need to prove themselves in capturing Lucy. Unfortunately for the D.E.B.S., Lucy has a crush on Amy who, it seems, reciprocates the feeling complicating their mission. ---

Image and Sound: Shot on HD video, the anamorphic widescreen transfer looks sharp with nice detail and there’s nothing in the way of analog (not surprising) artifacts. The disc also has a full screen presentation of the film that looks as good as the widescreen one. The colors are vibrant and rich with nice flesh tones with the only digital artifact a bit of edge enhancement. Otherwise, the presentation looks clean and sharp. The 5.1 mix makes nice use of the format placing action around the speakers particularly during the action sequences. ---
The Extras:

“Infiltrating D.E.B.S.” provides a nice brief behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the film including the conception of Robinson’s original short film. Featuring talking heads of the actresses, director and various studio executives that were behind the project, even if it does try to sell the concept that this is an important film a bit too much. The video quality for the behind-the-scenes stuff varies from poor to decent. Unfortunately, the original short which had differences in the cast is not presented which is too bad although we are tantalized by clips from it. It would have been fun to compare and contrast the two projects head-to-head. ***

We also get a music video of the band Weekend’s “Into the Morning”, a stills section and a selection of animatics. There are also deleted scenes which are actually quite enlightening particularly the trimmed love scene between Lucy and Amy which works better than the version that the MPAA insisted needed to be cut. We also get the usual assortment of Sony trailers for upcoming projects. There are also the original comic-book sheets that Robinson had. She prepped it for internet animation presentation and eventually got a grant to make her 10 minute short. The comics presented more like a comic strip and are difficult to read even on a big screen/widescreen TV. ---

Commentary: While the second commentary track is certainly the more fun of the two, director Robinson’s commentary is very informative providing background information on the shooting, changes from script to screen and also trims she had to make to appease the ratings board and get a PG-13. Her commentary track also gives the starting point for her project; she wanted to make a film about a gay teen that wasn’t sad or tragic which is all she had seen growing up. Instead, she wanted something with a fun story that also focused on the challenges of coming out without being too heavy handed.
Final Words: A clever film, “D.E.B.S.” takes a teen spoof and turns it inside out with some of its plot twists. Although it isn’t the most significant release this year, “D.E.B.S.” is charming and entertaining with some strong performances particularly by vets Holland Taylor and Michael Duncan Clarke. The young women playing the D.E.B.S. all give funny and charming performances as well.


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