Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is not a good movie, but that's okay. It makes no attempt whatsoever to be one, it only aspired to be a fun movie. Whether or not the viewer is having any fun is debatable, but it is clear that the three principal actresses are having a heck of a time. And why not? They get to prance around and kick butt for nearly two hours. Director McG (aka Joseph McGinty Nichol, Charlie's Angels) returns, and his mark is evident everywhere. McG is a commercial director, and Full Throttle is like a hyperactive extended music video. McG is great at what he does, and he deserves credit for giving the film a sense of energy, especially in the beginning. The stunts are all over the place, the camera speeds up and slows down, and the editing is razor-sharp. There is enough music for three soundtracks, an impressive array of guest stars (including original Angel Jaclyn Smith) and everything is really slick and professional.

This makes for an extremely superficial movie, and Full Throttle is great on this level. Look any deeper, and it gets disappointing. McG cannot sustain his energy level for long, and the film slows down considerably after the initial rush of exhilaration. It degenerates into a female Bond-type movie, full of lame double-entendres and a shell of story that serves to bridge the gap between stunt sequences. The Angels are back, and looking for two rings, that when combined, reveal the location of every person in the witness protection program. Somebody stole them and is going to auction them off to the highest bidder. Natalie (Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, The Sweetest Thing), Alex (Lucy Liu, Chicago, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever) and Dylan (Drew Barrymore, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Riding in Cars with Boys) are hot on the trail with the help of a new Bosley (Bernie Mac, Head of State, Ocean's Eleven). The other Bosley (Bill Murray) is gone without an explanation (actually, probably cast friction) and the new Bosley is his brother. Yes, that's the kind of humor courtesy of John August (Charlie's Angels, Titan A.E.), and Marianne and Cormac Wibberly (I-Spy, The 6th Day).

The movie proceeds to zip along its merry way devoid of logic until the final showdown between the unknown enemy. Well, because of a little thing called advertising, everybody and their mom knows that they are up against Madison Lee (Demi Moore, Passion of Mind, Deconstructing Harry), although the script pretends it's a secret. This is Moore's official return to acting after a self-imposed exile, and it's not much of a role for somebody capable of so much more. The film capitalizes on the fact that she still looks incredibly hot, and well, she does. The men in the film fare even worse. Matt LeBlanc (All The Queen's Men, Charlie's Angels) and Luke Wilson (Alex and Emma, Old School) feel like they are there only to remind people they were in the first film. They have no worthwhile contribution at all. Crispin Glover (Willard, Like Mike) shows up again also, and, is, well, Crispin Glover.

What's left is for Diaz, Barrymore, and Liu dressing up in all sorts of outlandish costumes (or lack thereof). Still, it is mildly amusing for a bit. The story in the first was flimsy, but compared to what's here, it was literature. The screenplay also pretends to have some character development by revealing a little more about each Angel's past, and having it come back to haunt them. Even with this, there is still no story. Charlie's Angels pretends to trumpet an ethos of girl power, but treads a thin line between empowerment and exploitation. Aside from titillation, what is the purpose of watching Diaz ride a mechanical bull or sit in a huge champagne glass wearing a bikini and pouring water on herself?

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 51 minutes, Rated PG-13 for action violence, sensuality, and language/innuendo.

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