Evil is so totally busted.D.E.B.S.
is a 2004 film based on a 2003 short that made the rounds at the film festival circuit. The 2003 short was a silly story about a team of college girl spies and the romantic relationship of one of the spies with the archvillain. The 2004 production expands it into a feature film with a fair dose of camp.
The D.E.B.S. are a large group of young women superspies. They are first screened by a secret portion of the SATs
that test whether someone has the aptitude to lie, cheat, fight, and kill. Those who pass screening are recruited into the D.E.B.S. spy academy.
The plot begins with one of the squads being tasked with staking out villainess Lucy Diamond. One member of the squad, Amy has always been fascinated by Lucy Diamond and is even writing a thesis on her. The stake out goes wrong and it ends up turning into a gun fight. Just afterwards, while chasing Lucy, Amy and Lucy end up meeting face to face. Despite holding each other at gunpoint, Lucy and Amy start talking to each other. After a distraction helps Lucy escape, it's revealed that Lucy is starting to really fall for Amy...
Despite taking place in a Charlie's Angels
-style spy universe, D.E.B.S
is actually more of a Yuri Romantic Comedy
than anything else.
D.E.B.S. provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Lucy
- Affectionate Parody: Of Charlie's Angels and the Teen Superspy genre.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Lucy Diamond uses the air vents to infiltrate the building in which Endgame is occurring.
- All There in the Script: Lucy has an Australian ex.
- Almost Kiss: While Lucy Diamond and Amy are in a Bad-Guy Bar, they get to know each other and become intimate.
- Amazon Brigade: The D.E.B.S. as a whole.
- The Art Of Bra Removal: D.E.B.S. provides a rare example of a female character having difficulty unhooking her partner's bra.
- Automatic Crossbow
- Bad-Guy Bar: Lucy Diamond kidnaps Amy and takes her to a bar that's a hangout for criminals like her.
- Beta Couple: Scud and Janet.
- Billing Displacement: Dominique is barely in the film yet she gets equal credit with all the other D.E.B.S.
- Bi the Way: Seems to be the case for Dominique; Amy having a same-sex experience doesn't faze her at all, and she goes out of her way to point out "it's not a big deal in Europe!" (And then, left alone: "Ce n'est pas grande chose en Europe...")
- Brake Angrily: While Lucy Diamond and Scud are driving away from the restaurant after the gunfight, Lucy tells Scud that she "met somebody" and he brakes the car to a halt in surprise.
- Call Back: A joke near the end is very similar to one near the beginning: "And what did I say to you the very first day at the Academy?" and "What did I say to you the first time we met?"
- Camp Straight: Scud: catty, gives Lucy relationship advice, wears a lot of pink, and... gets into a relationship with one of the D.E.B.S. girls.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: The D.E.B.S.' uniform plays to this.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: Lucy at her best, when she infiltrates the D.E.B.S. house (twice) and Endgame.
- Crash-Into Hello: Amy and Lucy.
- Crowd Panic: The Endgame crowd when a guy sees Lucy Diamond, yells that she's there and tells them to run for their lives.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: All the girls, but especially Dominique.
- Dating Catwoman
- Dawson Casting: Subverted. The actresses are playing the roles of almost college graduates but the uniforms make them look younger.
- Though Jill Ritchie was around 30, while the rest were 20-21.
- Descending Ceiling: In the bank vault.
- Designated Victim: In the short film the D.E.B.S. are annoyed that Amy keeps getting kidnapped by villainess Lucy In The Sky, unaware that it's all just to cover for their Dating Catwoman relationship.
- Dispense With The Pleasantries: When Ms. Petrie (the team's boss) arrives for a visit.
Max: I just want to say what a pleasure it is to meet you.
Ms. Petrie: No time for pleasantries.
- The Ditz: Janet ("Have you seen my gun?")
- Dogged Nice Girl: Lucy, even though she's a villain.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The D.E.B.S. uniform includes a plaid skirt. The forcefield surrounding their house uses the same plaid pattern and colors. After Lucy breaks in twice, she points out it doesn't offer much defence. Hmmm.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Lucy tries to utilize this trope after Amy leaves:
Lucy: Australia is toast!
Scud: What did the Australians do to you?
Lucy: I don't like their attitude.
- Enter Stage Window
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Dominique embodies this trope, with a healthy dose of Poirot Speak.
Janet: "You need to speak English or French. Frenglish is not a language."
- Fake Nationality: Devon Aoki's terrible French accent is something that must be heard to be believed.
- Five-Token Band: Roger Ebert in his review basically said there is little to tell the main characters apart except for their race.
- Four Girl Ensemble: The starring D.E.B.S. squad is pretty much a textbook case with promiscuous Dominique, naive Janet, obsessive Max and self searching Amy.
- Fun with Acronyms: D.E.B.S. stands for Discipline, Energy, Beauty, and Strength, but is obviously short for 'debutantes'. Strangely enough, everyone refers to individual agents as "a D.E.B.", despite the S standing for something. (Evidently, their strength is in numbers.)
- Genre Savvy
Max: "Creepy shadows, no bad guys, enclosed space. Trap."
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Janet's bedroom includes a teddybear which holds her pistol for her.
- Girls with Guns
- Hammerspace: Where Lucy Diamond carries bulky items (her gun, extra ammo clips, a grenade and the suction cups she used to climb up the wall of the D.E.B.S. house) when she's wearing skin-tight clothing.
- He Went That Way
- Heel-Face Turn: Sort of. Amy gets Lucy to try and show she's not that bad having her return money she stole with a note saying sorry among other things.
- Hidden Purpose Test: The hidden test in the SATs, and the foundation of the plot.
- Hooked Up Afterwards: Beta Couple Scud and Janet.
So, I was wondering if maybe you wanted -
I didn't ask you anything yet.
Whatever it is, yes.
- Hypocritical Humor: Max states that Amy (who's in a position she doesn't want or like, and is panicky as hell) doesn't know Formation Alpha Gamma. She might not, but the formation she gave was Alpha Kappa Gamma.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Max to Lucy, about Amy.
- Innocent Innuendo: Inverted in the short film — the other D.E.B.S. think Amy is being tortured and desperately try to break down a door to free her, but her screams are actually caused by Lucy bringing her to climax.
- Insecurity System: Lucy subverts it easily. Presumably, Dominique does too.
- Interrupted Intimacy: The other members of D.E.B.S. burst in on Amy and Lucy in bed together, exposing their relationship.
- Jerk Jock: Amy's boyfriend Bobby, with a side dish of Disposable FiancÚ.
- Larynx Dissonance: Justified but a little disturbing when Lucy starts lipsyncing to Erasure's A Little Respect. It gets funnier once Scud joins in.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Amy, Lucy, and Ninotchka.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Max, through and through.
- Love Redeems
- Mexican Standoff: Between Amy and Lucy when they first meet.
- Modesty Bedsheet: This exists before before Lucy and Amy
- Moment Killer
- Murder the Hypotenuse
- Must Have Caffeine: Dominique survives on a black coffee and cigarettes diet.
- The Other Darrin: All of the roles from the short were recast except for Jill Ritchie as Janet who reprised her role.
- Punch Clock Villain: Scud
- Psycho Lesbian: Lucy, and Ninotchka. The latter more so, given that they only had one particularly ordinary date.
- Really Gets Around: Dominique.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Ms. Petrie threatens to do this to Amy after she finds out that Amy is in love with Lucy Diamond.
- Rock Bottom: Janet's words in the bank vault.
- Rule of Funny
- Sassy Black Woman: the team's leader Max.
Max: Who's your best friend?
Amy: You are my best friend.
Max: And what did I say to you the very first day at the Academy?
- Schoolgirl Lesbians
- She-Fu: Amy's fight with Lucy in Amy's room in the D.E.B.S. house.
- She's Got Legs: Every member of D.E.B.S.
- Shoot Out the Lock: While the protagonists are secretly meeting with Lucy Diamond at Endgame, Bobby shoots a padlock that's securing a door leading to their location.
- Shout-Out: Lucy Diamond's name is obviously one to The Beatles/Elton John song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
- Side Bet: After Lucy and Amy Almost Kiss, Janet owes Scud fifty bucks.
- Spikes of Doom: In the Descending Ceiling in the bank vault.
- Spy School
- Stalking Is Love: Lucy's seduction plan borders on this.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Lucy Diamond does it twice.
- Sweetheart Sipping: During the Falling in Love Montage.
- Technical Pacifist: Despite her reputation Lucy claims she's never actually killed anyone; all the agents chasing her died of environmental causes. Her willingness to place Amy's friends under a Descending Ceiling with Spikes of Doom shows she might not be entirely truthful about this. Well, the ceiling is part of that environment... And there are plenty of ways to give someone food poisoning or get them to die of frostbite by, say, leaving them stranded on an ice field...
- Teen Superspy
- Tempting Fate: Twice in the bank vault.
- Amy says "See? That wasn't so hard." Then a Trap Door opens under her, sending her down a secret underground slide.
- Later on, Janet says things can't get any worse. Cue the Descending Ceiling and Spikes of Doom.
- Throwing Out The Script: Amy is given a speech to read at Endgame which tells a false story of how Lucy Diamond kidnapped her and held her hostage. She starts reading it to the crowd, but halfway through she stops reading it and tells the truth: that the time she spent with Lucy were the happiest days of her life and that she's leaving to be with Lucy.
- Trap Door: In the bank vault.
- Villains Out Shopping
- Woman Scorned: Ninotchka tells the D.E.B.S. how to find Lucy, jealous after seeing her happy with someone else.
- You Need to Get Laid: Lucy keeps backing out on dates claiming food poisoning and taking her frustrations out in Dr Evil type schemes. Scud even says so to her face.
- Yuri Genre
- Zettai Ryouiki