Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

You know, even a pretentious curmudgeon would have to admit that the 2000 “Charlie’s Angels” is a hell of a lot of fun, primarily because it never stoops to taking itself seriously and asks the same of the audience. However, for this misbegotten sequel, director McG seems to have completely misunderstood the appeal of his own preceding entry: “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” isn’t so much a movie as it is a loud, headache-inducing sugar-rush, immediately followed by a crushing sugar-crash, repeated ad nauseum until the final credits finally, mercifully roll. There’s just so much going on at all times that it feels like an early Japanese “Pokemon” episode come to life, like the ones that used to give Asian kids seizures in the early aughts: It’s just a loud cacophony of high-octane, never-ending stimulus that looks and plays like a video game starring three really, really stupid stripper-types. Where the Angels were charming and likable in the first one, this time both Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu here are cranked up to eleventeen and they’re just grating, but nothing compared to Cameron Diaz. I typically like her a great deal, but she’s just insufferable here: The movie may as well be called “Cameron Diaz Laughs Obnoxiously and Bends Over Like, a Lot: A Charlie’s Angels Movie” for reasons that should be pretty obvious to anyone who has seen even just the trailer. Add in an overabundance of villains (four at my last count while watching the movie but honestly I was *barely* paying attention after the first 20 minutes or so) on top of an overstuffed, nonsensical plot, and you end up wasting a trio of terrific performers: Justin Theroux, who is practically licking his lips at the chance to play a villain but constantly gets sidelined by the hyperactive plot, a shortchanged Crispin Glover who shows up to snarl a little then disappears, and a campy appearance by Demi Moore, who, bless her heart, at least tries to have fun with such an embarrassing, predatory role (By the way, can you imagine how great Gina Gershon would have been as Madison??). All in all, just skip it, save yourself the headache and hang on to your good memories of Diaz because, sheesh, they probably won’t survive this assault on the senses.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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