Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

There is a point of stupidity beyond which it becomes clever again. An excellent illustration of this point is Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, in which Jim Carrey acts so stupid that he's obviously making fun of people who act stupid, and reaches his own level of demented and original genius. Another good example can be found in the humor of The Three Stooges shorts, which I loved when I was 10, then reviled when I got more "sophisticated", then loved again when I reached the point in life which we all reach eventually, the point where I could like what I liked, not what I was supposed to like. I watched some Stooges shorts when I was thirtyish and "rained in" one day, and I suddenly had an epiphany in which I saw the sheer exuberant genius in their stupidity.

As I'm sure you know, intentional stupidity isn't pretty when it fails. It takes guts to try for this because it's the kind of failure that is both very ugly and very public. For every Jim Carrey there are a thousand Larry Storches. For every Curly Howard we remember, there are a thousand forgotten guys with silly names and bad haircuts, like Ish Kabibble and Huntz Hall. But director McG is not lacking in courage, for it is joyful, exultant, over-the-top stupidity that Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle reaches for and sometimes attains. Unfortunately, it succeeds for only a few minutes of its running time.

The rest of the time is what I call "whoo entertainment". My daughter watches shows on MTV in which audiences gather and shout "whoo" whenever they hear a famous name mentioned. That's it. That's the entire entertainment. The famous people rarely show up, so the audiences celebrate only the sacred syllables of their famous names. The people in those audiences come to have a good time and many of them are probably under the influence of various consciousness-expanding substances, so their determination to have a good time becomes a good time in itself. Jumping around and shouting "whoo" entertains them, and in turn entertains my daughter when she watches them.

Hey, young girls. Look at us, we've having fun. Isn't it fun to watch us?

There is altogether too much of this in the second Charlie's Angels film, too many times when we are supposed to enjoy it simply because it is loud, and energetic, and "young", and the people making it are obviously having a good time doing so.

They are obviously after my daughter's peer group, the demographic group which is amused by "whoo entertainment". Check out the scores at IMDb:

Males Females
Age under 18 5.5 7.3
Age 18 and over 5.3 5.9

Hey, young girls. Look at us, we've having fun.

In fact, virtually everyone in Hollywood seems to have gotten into the spirit of the thing. There must be twenty famous people with just a few lines or no lines at all. I don't think superstar Bruce Willis had any lines, and I think I spotted several more people who were mentioned neither in the credits nor at IMDb.

My favorite cameo appearance was made by former TV Angel Jaclyn Smith (right), one of the great beauties of her generation, possessor of a famously sexy purring voice and a natural elegance - and still a major fox in her 50's.

NUDITY REPORT

The angels spend a lot of time in skimpy costumes, and there are good butt shots of Diaz in a thong.

There is also a scene where the angels drop down "naked" in virtual darkness from a higher elevation. I'm not sure what is really visible. Probably body suits.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic, 2.40

Exclusive to the unrated DVD:

  • Unedited material not seen in theaters

  • Turning Angels into Pussycat Dolls

  • Rolling with the Punches

  • XXX-Treme Angels

  • Full Throttle Jukebox

Also on the DVD:

  • Telestrator commentary with Director McG

  • Angel-Vision Trivia Track

  • Writer's Commentary

  • Full Throttle: The Cars of Charlie's Angels

  • Dream Duds: Costuming an Angel

  • Angels Makeover: Hansen Dam

  • Designing Angels: The Look of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

  • Learn why: There's no such thing as a "short shot," only an overworked producer

  • Music video: Pink featuring William Orbit "Feel Good Time"

  • Cameo-graphy

DVD-ROM:

  • Animated Webisodes, Sony's exclusive Charlie's Angels X Online Game

 

Frankly, watching this self-amusement got mighty old mighty fast. I like the sight of Cameron Diaz shaking her booty, giggling, and shouting "whoo", but I don't think you can build an entire movie on it. McG, the director of Full Throttle, had no choice. He had no script nor plot nor funny dialogue to speak of. Whatever dialogue and development there was could easily have been covered in a 22 minute sitcom episode. That left another hour to pad out, which he did by turning the movie into a very long rock video, with plenty of fast cuts, computer graphics, loud music, outrageous stunts, bright and saturated colors, sudden changes in motion speed, and people shouting "whoo". They all seemed to be having a good time. Some moviegoers will find that to be enough entertainment.

I didn't. I don't know about y'all, but I'm convinced that watching people have a good time and actually having a good time are two different things. If you don't share that opinion, you'll like the film more than I did.

I would have liked it better if there were more scenes involving real people, but there was so much CGI and wirework that the movie was yet one more layer removed from actual fun. Not only were we supposed to get off on watching other people have fun, but specifically on watching other computer-generated people. In essence, we're supposed to enjoy watching a video game in which the characters are having a good time. That's way too post-modern for me.

It's a shame, because I found the first Charlie's Angel's flick to be a very entertaining junk movie, and I had some moderately high hopes for this one as well.

=================

Best line in the movie:

Security: Hey, you don't look like any Paddy O'Malley I ever saw.

Bernie Mac: You never heard of the Black Irish? Who do you think invented the McRib?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 2/4, BBC 2/5

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.6/10. BBC voters 3/5
  • Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $120 million for production, and the distribution/advertising costs are estimated around $40 million. It opened strong, at #1 with a $37 million dollar weekend, more than the next two films (Hulk and Finding Nemo) added together. It will have tough sledding in Week 2, against Legally Blonde for the teen girl audience and T3 for the action crowd.

 

Special Scoopy awards for excellence in criticism go to:

Order of merit in style: "Cheap (despite its hundred-mil-plus budget) and cheerless (even with Diazí million-dollar smile), Full Throttle is a movie that could be a preview for itself: a sad reminder of what was, a hint of what might be, and with any luck, the foretelling of what will never be again." -- Todd Gilchrist, Filmstew.com

Order of merit in accuracy: "Nothing deeper than a stale retread, it seems. And this observation comes from a critic who listed the original Charlie's Angels movie as one of the top five films of 2000." -- Luke Y. Thompson, NEW TIMES

Order of merit in humor: "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is like eating a bowl of Honeycomb drenched in Red Bull -- a dizzying mouthful of unabashed silliness that leads to an equally precipitous crash once the buzz wears off after the film's first hour." Elvis Mitchell, NEW YORK TIMES
 

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. I was disappointed. I expected to like it about as much as the first one, but it seems to have gotten lost somewhere between entertaining the audience and entertaining the cast and crew.

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