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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