Film / D.E.B.S.

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"Evil is so totally busted."

A 2004 action comedy film based on a 2003 short that made the rounds at the film festival circuit. The short was a silly story about a team of college girl spies and the romantic relationship of one of the spies with the archvillain. This 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.

Not to be confused with the Delfino Emergency Broadcast System.


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 Crossbows: Amy keeps a crossbow with a large magazine in her room.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Lucy Diamond kidnaps Amy and takes her to a bar that's a hangout for criminals like her.
  • Beta Couple: Scud is Lucy Diamond's second in command and Janet is a junior member of Amy's D.E.B.S. squad. They meet when Lucy Diamond kidnaps Amy and gradually fall in love with each other. At the end of the movie they apparently plan to start dating.
  • 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.
  • Compromising Call: Lucy Diamond is moving along an Air-Vent Passageway in the ceiling while her nemesis Bobby is following her in the corridor below. Suddenly Bobby's radio squawks, alerting Lucy to the fact that she's been detected and allowing her to escape.
  • Cool Car: Lucy Diamond and Scud drive a classic 1959 Cadillac de Ville.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Lucy Diamond and Amy Bradshaw are running down two parallel passages separated by a wall of boxes. Where the passages meet, they run into each other and fall down. Their subsequent interaction leads them to become attracted to each other.
  • 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: Both the short and full-length versions of this film center around a secret agent's forbidden Les Yay romance with a supervillainess.
    Amy: If you'll excuse me, I have a date with the devil.
  • Descending Ceiling: In the very obvious Death Trap.
  • 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: (priming a Death Ray) Australia is toast!
    Scud: What did the Australians do to you?
    Lucy: I don't like their attitude.
  • Enter Stage Window: Lucy Diamond sneaks into Amy's room in the D.E.B.S. house twice by climbing up the outside wall using suction cups and coming in through the 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."
  • Five-Token Band: An all-girl version. Amy Bradshaw (white) becomes the captain of her D.E.B.S. squad, Max is her black frenemy, Dominique is a French-speaking Asian and Janet is a naive, immature other white girl.
  • 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 knows what an action movie Death Trap looks like. Amy doesn't.
    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: The four girls in the D.E.B.S. squad carry automatic pistols when on duty and get in occasional gunfights with the opposition.
  • 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: Near the end of the film Amy and Lucy decide to escape together. Amy's friend Max tells the pursuing authorities that they went one way when they in fact went another.
  • 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 -
    Yes.
    I didn't ask you anything yet.
    Whatever it is, yes.
    Awesome.
  • 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 Fiancé.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Justified but a little disturbing when Lucy starts lipsyncing to Erasure's A Little Respect. It gets funnier once Scud joins in.
  • Lesbian Cop: Amy, technically, given that she's in training to become a government superspy with the objective of fighting off threats to national (or global) security.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Both Amy Bradshaw and Lucy Diamond pretend to be tough but are, deep down, nice, feminine girls who are very much in love with each other.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: The film starts off with Max as the captain of the D.E.B.S. squad. She has a Type A, take-charge and aggressive personality that tend to dominate everyone around her and can be quite rough with Amy Bradshaw. After she's demoted to second in command she's devastated and becomes more sympathetic, and by the end of the movie she covers Amy's escape with Lucy, proving that she's a true friend.
  • Love Redeems: Lucy Diamond is a supervillain criminal who once tried to destroy Australia. After she meets and falls in love with her arch nemesis Amy Bradshaw, she realizes that "being bad doesn't feel good anymore" and gives up her life of crime to be with Amy.
  • Mexican Standoff: Between Amy and Lucy when they first meet.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: This exists before before Lucy and Amy get interrupted by Amy's teammates.
  • Moment Killer
    Janet: Oh my god! She almost kissed you! You almost let her!
  • Montages
  • Murder the Hypotenuse
  • Must Have Caffeine: Dominique survives on a black coffee and cigarettes diet.
  • 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".
    • "Lucy in the Sky" was, in fact, her codename in the original short.
    • Doubles as a Punny Name or Steven Ulysses Perhero seeing as her birth name in the short and alias in the film is Lucinda Reynolds. (Lu C In Da = Lucy In The)
  • Side Bet: After Lucy and Amy Almost Kiss, Janet owes Scud fifty bucks.
  • Significant Sketch Book: Amy is an aspiring artist. One scene shows her drawing a picture of her girlfriend Lucy while in class, which shows she's still attracted to her even though their relationship is forbidden. When she sees another student looking at the picture she gets embarrassed and closes the book.
  • 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: The plot begins with the D.E.B.S (along with other secret agent societies) covertly spying on Lucy's meeting with a top Russian assassin at an exclusive restaurant, wondering what sinister business the two are planning. It's actually a blind date.
  • Vanity License Plate: Lucy Diamond's Cool Car has NDASKY.
  • 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

Alternative Title(s): DEBS

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/DEBS?from=Main.DEBS