Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The word "codswallop" is said to have been named after Hiram Codd, who invented a bottle for fizzy drinks in 1875. It must be true because Full Throttle - Charlie's Angels 2, for those who are counting - is Hiram's kind of movie. There's more fizz than flavour in this girls-will-be-boys live action cartoon, which needs to be contained before too much effervescence gets up your nose.

If a sequel is a repeat order, Charlie's comes with a double portion of everything, as if the first helping was just a starter. The slow motion wire flying action sequences make The Matrix: Reloaded look discreet. There are so many stunts, involving extreme vehicles of all shapes and sizes that you keep wondering, who are the girls and who the doubles?

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As a visual piece of pop video-influenced whambammery, it is perfectly pitched. The plot cheats when it needs to, makes jokes when it wants to and is reverse sexist to the nth degree - guys are wimps, brainless bullies, sentimental fools or John Cleese embarrassing himself again.

There is a story on the level of Spy Kids, involving silver rings that contain microfilmed details of every person in the FBI's witness protection programme, which, if stolen - forget the if, think when - can be sold to the highest bidder amongst the Bad Guy fraternity. Charlie sends his Angels to find the rings and save the anonymity of former snitches.

Essentially, it's about the girls flaunting it and having fun. Cameron Diaz is the liveliest of the lot, because she doesn't hold back for a moment and is constantly giggling like a teenager, or flashing that wrap-around smile. Whatever she does, whether surfing, dancing, riding an electronic bison or taking a bullet in the chest, she's so full-on, energy levels go through the roof.

Lucy Liu is precision built for the job, which Diaz isn't, being too tall. She follows in the tradition of Asian female martial artists, who are gymnasts, masquerading as kung-fu fighters. As well as taking the lioness's share of front line action, she has to handle Matt LeBlanc, as her ineffectual movie star boyfriend and Cleese as her father who communicates in baby talk.

Drew Barrymore is a co-producer, as well as the least obvious Angel, being more emotional and less physically adept at throwing herself at a man's throat. One of the subplots involves her Irish ex-boyfriend (Jason Theroux), who has an accent that mixes Glasgow with Liverpool in a mid-Atlantic brew. He is released from prison with a single thought in his head, to beat the living Jaesus out of her.

Crispin Glover appears briefly, looking like Dracula's apprentice. Luke Wilson smarms around Diaz in a glutinous way. Bruce Willis, heavily disguised in a dark suit and khaki-coloured hair, has a walk on/drop down role, while his ex, Demi Moore, gives an impressive demonstration of what workouts and cosmetic surgery can do to a fortysomething mother of four, playing a retired Angel, now running her own business.

Finally, foolishness prevails, although as a mindless romp, full of special effects, sexy outfits and voyeuristic slo-mo, it checks in at those erogenous pit stops a good novel cannot reach.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2003
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Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle packshot
Sequel with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu making mincemeat of bad guys.
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Director: McG

Writer: John August, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley

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

Year: 2003

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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