Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Review
By Shawn McKenzie 06/29/2003
The first Angels flick was such forgettable popcorn fluff that I actually forgot what it was about. I just remembered them dancing around in their underwear and fighting the Thin Man Matrix-style. That didn’t mean I thought it was bad, I just couldn’t remember the plot. After seeing Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, I realized that plot is not what they concern themselves with, just goofy fluff.
Our favorite Angels, Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz), Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore), and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) are back, and still working for Charlie Townsend (voice of John Forsythe) via the speakerphone. Natalie is moving in with her boyfriend Pete (Luke Wilson); Alex is on a “time out” with Jason (Matt LeBlanc), her movie star boyfriend (shades of Ross and Rachael on “Friends?”); and Dylan has very smartly dumped her ex, Chad (Tom Green, who is never seen or mentioned in the film.) Also gone is John Bosley (Bill Murray, who is seen briefly in a picture) as their intermediary contact with Charlie. In his place is Jimmy Bosley (Bernie Mac), John’s brother. Momma Bosley (Ja’net DuBois) had taken John in as a child, so John and Jimmy were raised as brothers. Anyway…Jimmy is just getting used to the job and thinks all of Charlie’s gadgets are cool. The latest assignment for the Angels is to rescue a U.S. Government employee named Ray Carter (Robert Patrick) from a Mongolian cell. During the rescue, they lose one of the two titanium rings that contain HALO (Hidden Alias List Operation), which is the complete list of everyone under the Federal Witness Protection Program encrypted on the rings. Another Government employee (Bruce Willis) holding the other ring has been killed, so both rings have fallen into the wrong hands. They start their search for the rings at the house of Alan Caufield (Eric Bogosian), one of the federal witnesses being protected, who has just been killed himself. They are able to track down one of the other witnesses at the Coal Bowl bike races, being run by its promoter (pop singer Pink.) The witness is a 15-year-old kid named Max (Shia LeBeouf), who Bosley later takes to his Momma’s house in the hood for protection. They also encounter the Thin Man (Crispin Glover) at the bike race, who may or may not be working for the enemy. That enemy is most likely Dylan’s ex-boyfriend, Seamus O’Grady (Justin Theroux) who’s just been released from prison and wants to punish Dylan for her participation in his incarceration. Another suspect is former Angel Madison Lee (Demi Moore), who is now working for herself. The Angels are also having problems in their personal lives. Natalie is afraid Pete is going to ask her to marry him and take her away from the job she loves. Alex receives a visit from her father, Mr. Munday (John Cleese), who thinks that she and the other girls work at the hospital and that she is training to be a neurosurgeon. A visit from Jason while she is away changes that perception for the worse. Jason tells Mr. Munday about Alex’s job, but in such a “Three’s Company”-style way that Mr. Munday thinks Alex is a high-priced hooker working for her pimp Charlie. Between her lame ex Chad, her psychotic ex Seamus, and her strange attraction to the Thin Man, Dylan just has bad luck with men in general. The Angels try to fight several enemies while dealing with the men in their personal lives, and do it all in tight fitting clothes that keep getting strategically wet.
I don’t want you to think I didn’t like this movie, because I did. Like the first movie though, this movie is just eye candy. It almost felt like a faster-paced episode of FX’s now-cancelled series “Son of the Beach,” but with better acting. While I appreciate looking at scantily clad women, I felt like this movie was just inserting the sexual innuendos and skimpy outfits to replace having a plot. This seems to be the M.O. of director McG, who directed the first movie and created the skin-and-guns FOX action show “Fastlane.” I must admit that this movie was more exhausting than the first one. From the dramatic rescue at the beginning to the climatic fights at the end, it rarely slows the action. I also think the people involved had more fun making this one, because it shows in their performances. I remember hearing about the tension on the set of the first one between Liu and Murray, and I bet this movie wouldn’t have been made if Murray had been involved again. Besides, Mac seems to be having more fun than his Bosley brother had anyway.
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is the pure example of the “popcorn flick.” There is no deep cranial substance, but there is lots of cool action (yes, the stunts and special effects are impressive) and lots of flesh baring. The other bonus of this movie is the spoofs and goofiness. From the cameos by the Olsen Twins to Jason’s movie, Maximum Extreme 2 (fashioned to look like Mission Impossible 2), there are many light moments. I’m not going to give this a really high rating, because I found myself rolling my eyes frequently (and I’ve been giving too many brainless movies high kudos lately), but I will acknowledge that this one is at least worth checking out at the matinee. If you liked the first movie, prepare for an extreme second dose!
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