Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Movie Review

Angels fight in slow motion. Angels show skin in slow motion. And most importantly, Angels explode in slow motion.

Thus we have the three immutable laws of the reinvented Charlie's Angels, that most improbable crossover hit from the 1970s TV show. Alas, what made the original film such a guilty pleasure wears thin in this rehash.

Once again, our three heroes (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu) parade from one costume change to the next as they battle to recover two stolen rings, which carry the identities of everyone protected by the Witness Relocation Program. The Angels manage to suppress any thought that these rings could be the dumbest plot device known to man, and their adventures carry them across the greater Los Angeles area as they zoom from Long Beach to Griffith Observatory all the way to Hollywood Boulevard! If not for their opening jaunt to Mongolia, you'd think the Angels were just phoning it in this time.

You can't really blame them. The threadbare plot introduces an old lover (a ridiculous-looking Justin Theroux) of Dylan's (Barrymore), hell-bent on vengeance after she landed him in prison. There's also "fallen" Angel Madison Lee (Demi Moore), looking to profit on this situation by reselling the WRP list to gangsters. But never mind all that: The film is padded with out-of-nowhere dance numbers and impromptu flashbacks, and sure enough those moments are far more enjoyable than the main storyline.

The catch with Charlie's Angels is that it's not just improbable, it's intentionally so, thus it's difficult to fault the film for having plot holes, wild inconsistencies, and blatant disrespect for the laws of physics. But director McG hasn't learned any new tricks in the last three years. The original Angels did all this stuff and made it amusing, even endearing. Full Throttle simply turns up the volume and asks the Angels to take off their clothes more often.

Everything about Full Throttle screams media event, from the endless cameos to Demi Moore's sudden resurgence as a target of the pop culture gossip machine. Hell, the only reason Crispin Glover returns as a creepy, silent swordsman is so the film can blatantly nab a "Best Kiss" prize at next year's MTV Movie Awards. Mark my words.

Full Throttle isn't without some charms, namely an underused Bernie Mac, who becomes Bosley 2.0 by replacing a feuding Bill Murray (and who, coincidentally, was easily the best part of the first Angels). A few of the scenes -- heavy on the innuendo -- merit guffaws, as well. Somewhere in this story there's some heart, some fun, and even some decent action, but all of it's so mindless I can't help but hope for someone to throttle things back for the inevitable third film.

The "unrated" DVD is odd, seeing as the cut version of the film is PG-13. I couldn't tell a single scene that was different (though I seem to remember music during the Pussycat Dolls scene which has vanished completely; they're dancing in silence... huh?). I presume the "unrated" bit could refer to McG's never-shut-up commentary track or the pop-up trivia track. A guide to the numerous cameos in the film is helpful and a little bit fun. Look, Olsens!

A kiss to build a dream on.


Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG-13, 2003


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