Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

June 26th, 2003 Film, Film Reviews, Xpress

Director; McG

Starring; Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore, Bernie Mac, Demi Moore, John Cleese, Crispin Glover, Matt LeBlanc, Pink, Robert Patrick, Luke Wilson, Jaclyn Smith, Bruce Willis, John Forsythe (voice).

After his very high profile on-set ‘friction’ with Lucy Liu (denied by the studio at the time), Bill Murray, who played the original Bosley, washed his hands of the first Charlie’s Angels — not even showing up at the wrap party.

He might have been on to something.

Director McG and producer Barrymore have gone to the X Men and Matrix school of making sequels; see what punters loved the first time, and spoon it up tenfold.

But instead of doing it with finesse as X Men 2 did, or expanding the original story, as Matrix: Reloaded did, Charlie’s Angels; Full Throttle gives us everything that made the original so fun and sassy, but drowns us in it.

It takes the gags, the smutty double entendres, the over the top stunts and the MTV camerawork, pours a can of kerosene on it, and torches it. The result is something that blazes too hot, too high, too long.

Sure, the comedy is there, and some of it’s clever — by Hollywood standards. You will laugh and you will appreciate the Angels’ schtick and the personas that have been developed for them.

But the stunts are so far over the top they’re into the stratosphere (which might explain the lack of oxygen in the filmmakers’ brains while they developed it). The action is so outrageous most of it’s done with CG (in parts, shocking quality CG). At times, it looks like an extremely well put together cartoon.

The barest thread of cause and effect passes for a story, mostly in order to catapult us into another pyrotechnic display of ridiculously superhuman skill. It’s got something to do with two rings that contain data from the federal witness protection program, and how the angels have to get them back from their new nemesis, ex angel (and missing-in-action Hollywood star) Demi Moore, looking the ten years older she is since her glory days.

Completely unexplained (and redundant) subplots wend in and out of the movie, like Dylan (Barrymore’s) psychotic ex lover and the thin man (Glover) from the original who shows up and disappears without giving you any idea why. All in all, Full Throttle has the plot sophistication of Fat Pizza.

Because the premise is so ridiculous, you’re never actually sure if it’s intentional, but the script seems to be taking the piss out of the idea that three skinny starlets can hang onto a falling helicopter or fight their way out of a warehouse full of dockworkers with kung fu that would make Morpheus proud.

Cameos abound from John Cleese as Alex’s (Liu) father to former Angel Jaclyn Smith appearing as, well’ an angel. Bernie Mac brings his funny but typical fast talking black brother to the new Bosley, and the rest of the cast is mostly intact.

It’s easy to judge Charlie’s Angel’s; Full Throttle harshly, but it’s hard not to like, because the ironic thing is that it hits the mark of what it’s trying to be; a comedy and a blast.

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