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Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle By Matt Singer
Geniuses worked on Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Not on the final on-screen product, mind you, which is mostly garbage, and far less entertaining garbage than its predecessor. No, the true genius is whoever dreamed up this concept, whoever realized that girls love to see other girls beat the crap out of tough looking guys, and guys will sit through nearly anything as long as there are enough shots of Cameron Diaz’s ass along the way. The high concept was meticulously developed and it shows. If they’d only spent a bit longer on the plot, which is like the most tedious connect the dots game you’ve ever played, and the characters, who are too bubbly and invulnerable to care about.
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The Angels are, once again, Natalie (Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu). Though they were intensely smart kung fu masters in the first, they now seem imbued with powers from beyond the stars. The trio fight with superhuman strength and speed, seem incapable of being harmed (a huge, through-a-wall car crash merely stuns one of the girls momentarily, and she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt) and, at one point, chase after a foe who is flying because she’s wearing a gauzy cloak by swinging on ropes of light bulbs like a trio of Spider-Women. The fight scenes are still fun, and we can accept the wirework kung fu and the Angels’ impossibly perfect fight teamwork, but there is a limit to the amount of disbelief I am willing to suspend.
These Godlike women are hired to recover the two “HALO” rings; which, when analyzed, can provide the location of every witness in the government’s Witness Protection Program. Why you’d put ALL the information in one single apparatus (even separated across two rings) is not discussed, nor why this vital information is placed on rings people wear and not in a secure computer somewhere. The location of the rings, and the identity of their abductor is meant to be a huge mystery, but unless you live under a rock, you know that it is Demi Moore, playing former Angel Madison Lee. Moore certainly looks, shall we say, well-rested, from her career sabbatical, and does make a fine squinty villainness. It’s too bad the “mystery” requires her to stay offscreen for most of the movie. Bernie Mac is also wasted as the new Bosley, with even less funny material than he had to work with in the equally lukewarm Head of State. And I have NO idea who thought Crispin Glover’s Thin Man, now even paler than before, needed to be brought back for the sequel so he can run around in a few scenes for no reason whatsoever.
We know who the eventual villain is going to be (though there are, like the first Angels, characters who seem good but turn out to be evil) so hinging the whole film on discovering her identity is a waste and a miscalculation. Full Throttle aggravates the problem by making the whole story a simple follow-the-clues chase in which each scene leads directly into the next, with the Angels, who know everything about everything, practically skipping through the movie with nothing at stake. At the same time, there are soon so many steps even Sherlock Holmes’ eyes would have glazed over trying to keep track of all the Angels’ stops on the Full Throttle tour (they follow a murder scene, CSI style, to a surfer’s beach, to a motocross track, just for starters). The first film was episodic, but to a lesser and more entertaining degree. And since when is Barrymore’s Dylan character a metal head? Did they make a single reference to it in the first film?
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is a disappointment. The first film was mindless cheesecake, but it was entertaining mindless cheesecake, and though the actors and director McG (who is a confident, stylish director as long as no one on screen opens their mouths) appear to have had lots of fun making the movie, maybe they had a bit too much fun and forgot that ultimately it is the audience who need to have fun, not them.