Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle

Review by D.L. Browne

Let me preface my comments by saying that I was actually a fan of the original Charlie's Angels (I know, I know) and I actually enjoyed the first Charlie's Angels film. Honest!

So when I say that I found Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle stupid, vulgar and insulting, it's not like I bear any grudge against the franchise.

In the original television show, at least we had a pretense at P.I. reality. The original Angels were all ex-cops who weren't taken seriously in their law enforcement profession, and turned to the private sector. This time around the filmmakers make the point of stressing the contemporary Angels' background: veterinarian, figure skater, and monster truck driver. I'm not sure what the message here is from a feminist standpoint, but from the viewpoint of a fan of the P.I. genre, it's pretty silly.

Then again, I'm not sure whether these Angels are supposed to be -- P.I. s or secret agents or magical beings from ancient China -- and neither, obviously, are the writers. The stunts are so outrageously impossible, they aren't even interesting. The motorbike somersaults, the jet-propelled spins through the air, the turbo-kicks: 105 minutes of frenetic and pointless action. How many times can you be alarmed by hails of bullets that fail to find even one target (especially when you're PRAYING for the silver bullet that will take one of those top-heavy little monsters out).

Oh, but it's not all about action; we've got COMEDY. All the naughty potty humor any pre-adolescent girl (or boy) could desire. And lots and lots of heavy-handed sexual double-entendres, including the side-splitting running gag that Alex's boyfriend and father both believe she's actually a whore. Funny stuff.

Maybe I should discuss the plot. I wish I could. I'm not exactly sure what it was. An evil ex-Angel has one of two secret decoder rings that, when matched with the other missing secret decoder ring, reveals the name of everyone in the Witness Protection Program? Something like that. It didn't make any sense, and actually, if the movie had been entertaining enough, it didn't need to.

The problem is, this didn't feel like a movie so much as a Mad Magazine parody -- and not a very kind one. And the fact that our current Angels (Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and star/producer Drew Barrymore) wholeheartedly buy into their own image as brainless sluts is sad stuff, indeed.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE...Buy this video...Buy this DVD
(2003, Columbia)
Based on characters created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts
Story by John August
Screenplay by John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley
Directed by McG
Original Music by William Orbit
Produced by Drew Barrymore, Leonard Goldberg and Nancy Juvonen
Associate producers: Amanda Goldberg, Stephanie Savage
Executive producers: Patrick Crowley, Betty Thomas, Jenno Topping
Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu
Also starring Bernie Mac, John Forsythe, Demi Moore, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, Crispin Glover, John Cleese

Review submitted by D.L. Browne, July 2003.

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