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No matter the tone or genre of a piece, suspension of disbelief is essential. This is particularly necessary in a spoof or parody. If the audience has no sense of time or place, it has no context to measure the humor. “D.E.B.S.”, a spoof of espionage films, fails because none of the characters exist in any world of consequences. Villains don’t appear devious enough, heroes aren’t intelligent enough and there’s never any danger. It’s as if “Airplane” took place in a hotel suite. Despite the jokes, you do need to believe the plane COULD go down, killing Leslie Nielsen and his band of jokers.

A secret government academy trains young women to be government agents. At D.E.B.S. Institute, these bubbly beauties, dressed as Catholic schoolgirls, carry complex weapons, train in martial arts and utilize the most complex computer systems. The organization’s greatest nemesis Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster, “The Faculty”), a master thief who leaves crushed diamonds as her calling card, will be meeting with a top Russian assassin and D.E.B.S. leading agents Amy (Sara Foster), Max (Meagan Good), Dominique (Devon Aoki) and Janet (Jill Ritchie) infiltrate Diamond’s transaction. However, instead of hiring the assassin for some diabolical plot, the luminous and lesbian Lucy Diamond is on a blind date with the blond buxom agent. During a shoot-out, Amy comes face to face with the crafty Diamond and lives to tell even though every other agent to face her has been eliminated.

While the D.E.B.S. organization lauds Amy for surviving against a devious foe, they don’t know her little secret. Lucy Diamond has a crush on Amy and has been courting her.

The original 11 minute short “D.E.B.S.” became a calling card for writer/director Angela Robinson, winning her not only the ability to expand her NY and LA gay film festival award winner into a feature, but also the opportunity to direct Disney’s latest remake of “The Love Bug.” Robinson displays adeptness at lensing a professional-looking production. The high-tech toys and pyrotechnics lend to the spy vs. spy microcosm, but Robinson falls into the same trap that “Saturday Night Live” producers discover when taking a five minute skit and stretching it over 90 minutes. The idea that Jane Bond and Ms. Goldfinger have the hots for each other and carry on a clandestine affair shows wit. But Robinson doesn’t know where to take her characters. Then there’s the greater problem that with very little dialogue change and the exact performances, this could be simply the tale of two school girls in love.

Robinson does pepper her film with some clever bits. As many have done with our wallets on occasion, one D.E.B. finds her missing gun in the pocket of her jeans at the bottom of the hamper. The Barbie Doll agents also receive their intel at the commissary which looks like a 50s hamburger joint.

Then there are scenes so hackneyed they shouldn’t work but do because of the charm of its leads Brewster and Foster. A love montage of the two girls in love invokes a Beverly Hills 90210 moment as does Brewster and her “super villain thugs” lip-sync to Erasure’s “A Little Respect.” These moments endear the audience to the leads but also contribute to the lack of credibility in Brewster having a evil streak. She doesn’t appear even capable of a bad hair day.

The conceit of Romeo and Juliet set in the spy world is a clever one. Adding the additional lesbian element of both lovers being women updates it to the new millennium. But because everyone appears to just be play-acting as if this was a playground production, “DEBS” is not rooted in any reality; so far fetched, that “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” and “Alias” is cinema verite in contrast.

 
 
 
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