all been to a cheap carnival. You probably spent too much
money on pink popcorn, lemonade, and cotton candy. Plunking
down even more money on tickets to ride, you went on attractions
that looked like they might blow over in a strong wind, even
as they hurled you into the air. And afterward, you might
have even thrown up behind a hay bale. Sure, you had fun,
but the afterbuzz made you wonder why you didn't just save
up the money and go to some place really good.
kind of what Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle is like.
For some of you, any criticism is beside the point. So let's
get the confession out now: it is damned funny. But it's also
a horrible piece of filmmaking, with less sense of how story
elements connect than an episode of I'm With Busey.
it is to run the risk of allowing director McG to consider
himself a gifted auteur. And people, I'm just not sure I can
allow that to happen.
not like the first was a masterpiece, either. And so if you're
thinking, well, more of the same isn't a bad thing, then this
"Film by McG" (is it irony?) will be your cup of tea. Ride
the Whirlwind, baby, then have a couple of corn dogs. Not
necessarily in that order..
plot there is follows the same beats as the first film, even
bringing back Crispin Glover as the evil Thin Man, though
he may have something akin to redemption on his mind. Someone
perceived as an ally turns out to have mayhem on their mind,
and Charlie's Angels have to stop them. As a twist, that shouldn't
come as a surprise, considering the touting of Demi Moore's
screen return as an evil Angel.
guys do know this was a sketch on Mad TV
making fun of Charlie's Angels, right?
screenwriters John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley
try to add a little thematic subtext. We can never run from
our pasts (oh, very good, nice lesson, thank you), as Dylan
(Drew Barrymore) discovers when an ex-boyfriend (Justin Theroux,
chewing scenery with the best of them) returns from prison
to kill her.
course, there's also the idea that she's found a new life
among the Angels, and who she is now is far more important
than who she was when she was the improbably named Helen Zass.
(In case you don't get that joke, don't worry, the movie spends
five minutes straight beating it, throwing water on it to
revive it, then beating it back into unconsciousness again.)
than that, though, the finished product is more like a party
game than a story. It's as if the designers all went off on
their own and delivered a whole bunch of different scene ideas
without telling the others what they were doing. Pity those
poor screenwriters who had to try and leap from place to place
with some semblance of logic. Clearly, McG didn't care.
in that logic: a new Bosley facilitates the relationship between
Charlie and his Angels, played by a largely wasted Bernie
Mac. The script makes an almost clever attempt to explain
his brotherhood to Bill Murray, but McG has so little idea
how to handle a scene that isn't loud and stupid that you
might just miss what the explanation is.
he thinks he's in a David Lynch film.
do they then explain the first Bosley, David Doyle?
Because this film makes it absolutely clear that these Angels
are following in the, let's say, footsteps of the original
holy trinity of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jacqueline
Smith. As have others, hence Moore's role. There's an Angels
alumni newsletter. To complete the reach back, Smith even
makes an amber-lit cameo to offer advice to a forlorn Barrymore.
specifically say what that cameo pays homage to besides the
original series, but I know that it must. Because visually,
though there are a lot of cool things to look at, they're
all stolen from some other filmmakers. When a wall of flames
springs up after a warehouse explosion, I prayed that there
wouldn't be a T2 reference, but sure enough, there
it was. And then I laughed, damn me, even though it's not even Robert Patrick doing the bit. But he is elsewhere in the movie. It's a bunch of music
videos edited together, relying heavily on pop cultural references
for their coolness cache.
the references aren't enough, Full Throttle loads on
the cameos, just like a wacky sixties sex comedy. McG does
have the sense to linger on these celebrities just long enough
for you to realize who they are, though Bruce Willis really
does look like he wandered in from another movie entirely.
there's no coherence, what is there? Silly playground sex
jokes and skimpy outfits by the truckload, that's for sure.
If you haven't seen Cameron Diaz shake her ass nearly enough
for your taste, it's here. There are a few jokes lifted out
of the cartoon pages of Playboy. In fact, it's a lot like
a porn film comedy, except without the…oh, wait, no, Pink
does have a cameo.
I just had to hammer home the joke.
Liu does a ferret impression, and then turns into a literal
kitten with a whip in a strangely unerotic strip club scene,
both in service to a wacky mix-up, stop me if you've heard
this one, where her father (John Cleese) thinks she's a nurse
until her boyfriend (Matt LeBlanc) explains about Charlie,
except, hee hee, I'm dying here, the dad thinks Charlie is
a pimp whoring out his daughter.
annoying thing is that it really is hilarious. Only
the scenes involving Bosley and his family taking in an orphaned
Shia LeBouef allow for you to stop and think, crap, this is
stupid. The rest of the time, everybody has thrown
themselves into the whole thing with such gleeful abandon
that it's hard not to get seduced by the lights, the sounds,
and the smell of the midway.
You need a couple of bucks for a deep-fried Twinkie? Okay.
Here you go. You kids have fun, now.
Those With Critical Faculties: $2
Who Promise To Leave Their Brains In The Car: $7