Review by Paul Stathakis | 2003

Good enough to make you forget about the first installment

Clumsy, but funny. The dashing angels are back for another round of loud, mindless, and exaggerated action. I’ll admit that I never fully sat through the first installment. It didn’t attract me. I wasn’t prepared for its purposely-made embroidered style. But the sequel found a way into my forgiving heart.

Sure, it goes for easy laughs, Austin Power’s-style with its sex jokes and play on with words, but it works primarily because this summer has been dubbed “the summer of sequels” and not too many are living-up to or surpassing their predecessors. “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” is a pleasing upgrade.

The not-so-angelic trio, which includes Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), and Alex (Lucy Liu), are joined by two new stars: Bernie Mac, who plays Bosley’s brother and who is also named Bosley, and the devil-looking Demi Moore, who stars as cruel ex-angel Madison Lee. Other characters from the first film return as well. The trailer reveals two of them, but I won’t spoil the “surprise” for those who don’t know.

And I won’t discuss the hollow story either. There is no point in discussing plot here. Instead, I’ll tell you what I liked about the strutting blockbuster. I never thought I’d say that “Full Throttle” is a good example of fun summer escapism, but that sentiment struck me on my way out of the theater. Although the movie contained an embarrassing plot (which can’t even be called a plot), made no sense at times, was too dull for laughs at other instances, and invoked tacky sentiments in its characters, I still enjoyed it.

Director McG rightfully named the film Full Throttle, because this time things are more wild, wacky, and out-of-control (naturally, we’re in 2003). Not even “xXx”, which I dismissed as an action flick, was this inflated. But there is a big difference between the two movies. One tries hard to make the impossible seem genuine while the other evidently acknowledges that it is reaching for the impossible. I guess that’s what McG did for the first installment as well, but I refused to listen back then.

Humor. The film isn’t dipped in comedy – that’s one thing you should know. Several moments are funny (like the opening) and others are just not (the whole bit with the “butt” jokes). Of course, there are some moments that are simply fun and cool to watch (the angels dancing to M.C. Hammer’s Can’t Touch This). Also, Bernie Mac fans will be mildly pleased to see him as the new Bosley; I say this because Full Throttle doesn’t star the hysterical Mac from The Bernie Mac Show even though several times throughout the film we get this feeling that he’s going to jump up and say something wickedly funny. Most of the time the script settles for minimal laughs, even with its cameos by Bruce Willis and Luke Wilson.

If you go into “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” with an open mind, desiring nothing but action, light-humor, striking women in bikinis, and some more action, then this one should do it for you. There is a scene in the film where we learn about the angels and their past. It’s not a fantastic scene; it’s actually concise but amusing, and serves as proof that there is advancement in the sequel. But if there should be a third part, the series must come to an end before it gets too old for anyone’s taste.

 

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