Since this is a family newspaper, I may have a difficult time accurately describing “Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle” to a mixed audience. When I say that, I don’t mean that “Full Throttle” is an awful movie — rather, it’s a blast. But this is a movie about three highly attractive, often provocatively dressed women whose professional lives are dedicated to unadulterated butt kicking — well, that’s just the nicest way I can put it for you.
“Full Throttle” continues the successful formula started with the original film three years ago, that was in turn inspired by the alternately feminist/sexist 1970’s TV series. Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu reprise their roles as the “Angels,” investigative agents in the employ of the Charles Townsend Detective Agency, whose reclusive owner Charlie is a directive voice on an intercom. They are assisted by a new Bosley, this time played up by comedian Bernie Mac.
This time out, the Angels are sent out to retrieve a stolen database of witness protection profiles, cleverly concealed in a pair of rings worn by high ranking government officials. Witnesses are quickly turning up dead, so the Angels must set out to find who’s behind the murders. What they discover leads to a series of plot twists that while they might seem routine in retrospect, are satisfying surprises, such as the appearance of a “fallen angel,” the return of the Thin Man and exactly how the new Bosley and the old Bosley (previously played by Bill Murray) are related.
As I said initially, “Full Throttle” is a blast. The music video laden resume of director McG actually works to the advantage of “Full Throttle.” Rather than trying to navigate the methodology of feature film directing, McG simply makes this a 90-plus minute music video (and its soundtrack is terrific). It further sets itself apart from most action genre films because of its self-conscious awareness that most of what goes on in the film is ridiculously implausible. Gravity defying stunts and explosions galore are only surpassed by the campy, goofy antics and get-ups of the Angels. Cameos are numerous but not forced, and John Cleese’s turn as Liu’s father is priceless.
Parents shouldn’t worry about sending their teenage daughters (or sons, for that matter) to this film. While the Angels exude grrl power and sex appeal simultaneously, at the same time they are strong, smart women — who also know how to deliver a thorough thrashing. In fact, the film has appeal for a fairly wide audience, from the obvious eye candy the female leads offer, to some of the more subtle pop culture references. Take advantage of its run on the big screen — it will definitely take you for a wild ride.