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Chick Flicks with A Kick

A Fabulously Fatal Analysis of Female-Centered Film

Since the dawn of time, the misnomer “chick flicks” has been used to undermine female-catered films, and emasculate men who just like…fun. I hate to go against her, but Cyndi Lauper got it a bit wrong. Girls don’t just want to have fun, they know how to have fun. The ever-evolving and, hopefully, less misogynistic category has grown to encapsulate a large array of energetic, colorful, and unashamed movies. Today, I’ve personally extended the term to include all my favorite fabulous female-led films, whether they include the ever-pleasant 2010s cheesy charm, or not. Robbery for the sake of sisterhood, bedazzled weaponry, mini-skirt-wearing-spies–it doesn’t get more charming than this. Nothing’s more fun than some casual criminal activity, and these women understand that.


Sugar & Spice (2001) 

A campy, fun heist movie, Sugar & Spice tells what I would personally call a heart-warming story of friendship, and the reach of its power, as a cheerleader posse plans to rob a bank to help out their sister in need. Full of distinct, personality-filled women and some of that classic 2000s cheesy femininity we all know and love, Sugar & Spice is a ‘chick flick’ that fires on all cylinders. Although, with its many pros–Barbie-themed heist masks, a cheerleader obsessed with Conan O’Brien–Sugar & Spice has its cons. To go with the 2000s femininity, there’s some of that less charming 2000s casual homophobia–one trademark element of the era that we may know, but not love.


D.E.B.S. (2004)

More unabashedly cheesy 2000’s lesbian movies, please! Flying cars are something we have now, right? Let’s hurry it up with the time machines then, because I need to go back to 2004 to make sure this movie is the start of a lesbian spy movie renaissance–for the good of our nation, of course. D.E.B.S finally gives sapphics what they deserve: a cheesy 2000s rom-com. This movie is pure fun, packed with hilarious dialogue and situations, and undeniable charm, making it a perfect recommendation for just about anyone. 

Birds of Prey: And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

You can’t possibly make a list highlighting criminal women without including one of the most fabulous, fatal, and chaotic women of all fiction and time: Harley Quinn. This movie gets a lot of backlash for what people think it should’ve been, but if you appreciate it for what it is, there’s a lot to love. Fun female friendships, interesting and brightly colored scene compositions and costumes, and creative fight scenes contribute to the excellent make-up of this film. It’s about time that our favorite female anti-hero gets her time in the widely-commercialized-cinema spotlight, and this movie certainly does her character justice. Give it a chance, and see how much it can surprise you. 

Photo by Darren Michaels (Darren Michaels)

Whip  It (2009)

A colorful roller derby movie, directed by none other than Drew Barrymore, Whip It is an incredibly underrated film of Elliot Page’s early 2000s career. Although the only atrocity committed by these girls is criminal levels of fabulosity, their shameless rough-housing and beautiful bonds landed them on the list. This movie may not inspire any criminal activity, but there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have a strong urge to join a roller derby team that will lead you to….strong female friendships, girl scout-themed costumes, and messy food fights with rival teams–be advised.

Polite Society (2023)

One of the best, most underappreciated films of 2023, Polite Society does not fail to deliver in a single aspect of its form. An action movie centered around a teenage girl of color, the film works against the general outlines of the genre to make a truly incredible result. Foiling evil plans, training to be a stunt woman, disappointing her family, and caring more about her sister than anything else, the main character Ria makes Polite Society a great experience for any viewer. 

Jawbreaker (1999) 

Wicked, filled to the brim with iconic fashions, and starring two of my favorite 90s girls, Judy Greer and Rose McGowan, this vengeful film shows some seriously mean girls. After accidentally killing their best friend, and most popular girl in school on her birthday, the new and cruel leader of the pack must take charge and come up with a plan that makes another turn on her and allows a new girl to join the clique and stir up some drama. Hilarious dialogue and situations, as well as great costumes and cheesy fun, make Jawbreaker a worthwhile watch for any dark comedy/chick flick enjoyer. 

In harmony with its high school flick sister Sugar & Spice, I must warn that the movie comes with its fair share of homophobic jokes or remarks from side characters, but nothing too upsetting or distracting from the enjoyment. 

If you take the time to watch some of these wonderful ‘chick flicks with a kick’, I hope you’ll be able to grow just as fond of the charming, violent featured women as I am. Thank you for reading, and remember to always look out for the unnecessarily hated women in your life (Skyler White, I will always defend you. Rachel Zegler, you have my heart. Carol Danvers, you can do no wrong. Bella Swan, even you have a small piece of my heart.)

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Amanda Wagner, Journalist

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