Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
review by Gregory Avery, 27 June 2003

The one moment of real surprise -- and delight -- I experienced while watching Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, which is otherwise put together fine and gives you plenty of bang for your buck, comes near the very end, when it is revealed why Crispin Glover's character, the Thin Man assassin seen in the previous film, is trailing the Angels (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu) once again: let's just say that two of the girls have a guy before the end of the film, and one does not. Glover, our great, eccentric, fearless genius actor, energizes things every time he's on-screen, no matter how brief a time. The rest of the movie is, maybe, a little too energized, and I can't say it's really got a piston shot or anything.

Some of the sequences are brilliantly edited, and, once again, the Angels are seen facing down adversaries without the use of sidearms (something producer Drew Barrymore was adamant about in the 2000 film and this one) while the story emphasizes (particularly in its conclusion) the strength of female camaraderie. Things are knowingly, sometimes wittily, put together (the Angels locate some titanium objects by conducting a test involving molecular density), the songs used on the soundtrack are cunningly selected and deployed, the acting is quite enjoyable (Cameron Diaz manages to make her character, Natalie, a bundle of joy without ever slipping over the line into dumb-blond territory), and there's a giddy blizzard of pop culture references (dig the use of "The Lonely Goatherd" in the background of the convent scene!) to keep things spry, and celebrity appearances, some credited (John Cleese, Robert Forster, Eric Bogosian, Carrie Fisher, and Pink, without the heavy makeup, in a motocross scene) and uncredited (why, that looks like Bruce Willis! And there's Jaclyn Smith!). You can overlook the fact that Bernie Mac does not quite seem up to speed with the rest of the picture as the new Bosley ("bewildered" is the word that I'm looking for---he seems to be looking around for something, anything to play off of), and that Demi Moore doesn't so much appear in the picture as seem electronically digitalized into it (in her first scene, she shows that women over 40 can indeed have flat stomachs, and appears in a bikini that looks tinier than any of the swim wear in "From Justin to Kelly").

So my reaction to most of the film was...cursory. "Well, that's well-done." "That's nice." There's nothing wrong with lightweight entertainment to take your mind off things -- it may be that the film is trying too hard to be lightweight. Justin Theroux appears as a mean ex-con (consciously done up to look like De Niro in Cape Fear), a shadow from the past of Drew Barrymore's Dylan  -- not wanting to trivialize certain aspects of this subplot, the film tries to give the dark connection between these two some genuine weight and resonance, but it looks really out of place with the larking that's going on in the rest of the picture.

Film Threat asked its readers, during the film's opening weekend in theaters, which of the Angels they would most like to throttle. (Note: never use a title that can be used against your picture after it opens.) Both of the Charlie's Angels pictures at least have their hearts in the right place: I'll reserve judgment until the movie version of S.W.A.T. opens later this summer.

Directed by:
McG

Starring:
Cameron Diaz
Drew Barrymore
Lucy Liu
Demi Moore
Bernie Mac
Justin Theroux
Robert Patrick
Luke Wilson
Matt LeBlanc
Crispin Glover

Written by:
John August
Cormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley

Rated:
PG-13 - Parents
Strongly Cautioned.
Some material may
be inappropriate for
children under 13.

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