By David Mumpower
June 25, 2003
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle will make you roll your eyes so often that you run the risk of permanently damaging your optic nerve. And I don’t even mean that in a bad way. Rarely has a major studio release had such a simplistic yet realistic recognition of what its target audience wants to see. Armed with that knowledge, the movie shamelessly proceeds to give the people copious albeit repetitive amounts of what they inexplicably seem to want.
This is a film made for those who want to celebrate the genius of Aaron Spelling, a man who was a full quarter century ahead of his time when he offered a show about impossibly beautiful heroines men lusted after and women dreamed of being. With the new set of A-list actresses/Angels Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz along with stunner Lucy Liu already proving once that this is the purest form of popcorn for everyone, the sequel merely shifts into cruise control.
The sequel offers no pretense of anything resembling storyline but instead chooses to be exactly what you would expect from McG, a director who made his reputation coming up through the world of music videos. Full Throttle is a kinetic series of revved up flash cut action sequences inter-spliced with gratuitous T&A (yeah, baby!) and the occasional forced moment of plot development. Simply put, it’s exactly the same as the first movie while still following the banal rule for Hollywood sequels. More. More. More.
Describing the production in any way is frankly redundant because if you’ve either seen the original or even a trailer for Full Throttle, you know exactly what you will get. The only changes are in the introduction of a new baddie (Demi Moore in what is sadly little more than a glorified cameo) and the replacement of Bill Murray as Bosley after a highly publicized behind the scenes spat with Lucy Liu. It’s the casting of Bernie Mac as the newbie taking over control of the speaker box button that turns out to be the most pleasant surprise.
Fans of Mac’s Fox show or his performance in The Original Kings of Comedy already know about his impeccable comic timing, and McG demonstrates an impressive feel for exactly where Mac’s broad, exclamatory style of line delivery will be best utilized to pump up the crowds. And make no mistake about it, the goal of almost everything shown in Full Throttle is to thrill viewers if only for a moment or two before the film accelerates to yet another demonstration of bullet time or wire fighting.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by the return of the lesser Wilson, Luke, as Cameron Diaz’s character’s boyfriend and Matt “Don’t call me Joey” LeBlanc as Lucy Liu’s actor significant other. Admitting up front that I have a soft place in my heart for LeBlanc, he is very entertaining here as he is frequently paired off with John Cleese, who portrays Liu’s character’s father. The two of them have a cheap running gag in their scenes, but it does provide several boisterous laughs. There are also several cameos of note with the most interesting being Bruce Willis, Demi Moore’s ex-husband, though he is almost unrecognizable under an avalanche of make-up to make him appear older.
The stars get almost all the face time, though, and the way they handle their parts is a celebration of femininity. They aren’t ashamed to be sexy and they don’t appear to know how to be anything other than excessive. In point of fact, this whole movie redefines over-the-top as it plays out as a David Zucker production every bit as often as a Michael Bay effort. Not that this is a bad thing. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is about quick, goofy fun and in the end, that’s the spirit in which it must be judged. As such, it’s a thumbs-up if you’re someone who can shut down your brain and enjoy one hundred minutes of big, dumb fun. That’s all that they have on the menu here.
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