Charlies Angels: Full Throttle (2003) / Action-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, language and sexual innuendo
Running Time: 106 min.
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Justin Theroux, John Cleese, Crispin Glover, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, Robert Patrick
Screenplay: John August, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley
I'm not sure if there's a need for a debate as to whether the first Charlie's Angels is better than the second, as filmmaking this superficial doesn't really merit much thought or analysis, but I can state that I personally found the second go around to be easier to endure. Much of this has to do with the fact that the storyline is a bit more cohesive, no longer showcasing scenes that don't push forward the plot or story, even if they are still hinged by the flimsiest of reasons. The campy style of humor is still there, which is a mix of over-the-top action, allusions to other films, and cheesecake girly-girl silliness.
The three Angels are back, super-detectives who work for Charlie. This time their job is to retrieve two high-tech finger rings that the government stores the names and addresses of people under the Federal Witness Protection Program. It seems some unscrupulous people have gotten their hands on it, and people in the program are ending up dead. Getting to the bottom of this proves more dangerous than the Angels ever could imagine.
Let's face facts here. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is still just a fluffy dessert flick with not much inspiration except to exploit its stars bodies and put them in ridiculous situations to gain a few laughs. With McG at the helm, it plays out more like a music video than a film, which I'll admit is catchy to the eye, but what works for 5-minutes on MTV loses its ability to impress when drawn out to two hours in length. As a result, there were long stretches where I found myself staring at the screen watching the flashy images go by, but barely cognizant that I'm actually watching a story. This is because the story is merely a vehicle to dish out what McG really wants to show us, namely, lots of men and women stripped down to the bare minimum and super-cool martial arts and gunfight displays.
As I mentioned in the intro, Full Throttle is a bit more coherent than the first film, and unlike its predecessor, they actually construct each scene as part of the overall plot, even if it is sometimes tangential. The humor is actually a bit better, and I found myself amused on a handful of occasions at the parodies and pop culture references that are sprinkled throughout the film. As pure entertainment, it has its moments, but this kind of filmmaking is much easier to take in small doses. Watching this on video is best, where you can pause or stop the movie at any time and return to it whenever you feel the need for another shot of mindless, high-energy entertainment. Don't worry about not remembering what's going on. Like it really matters...
© 2003 Vince Leo