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Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
from Film Forum, 07/10/03

Flaunting their sex appeal, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu strut back to the big screen for Charlies Angels 2: Full Throttle.

In this episode, the three glamorous secret agents go undercover to recover some missing jewelry. But they're not just shopping for fashion accessories. The lost golden rings contain information that could lead villains to the hiding places of every person in the FBI's Witness Protection Program. Donning disguises—skimpy ones—the Angels ensure that for all of their clever espionage, the focus remains on letting the audience "spy" more than is really appropriate. Full Throttle has already proven a disappointment at the box office, perhaps because director McG is far more interested in playing to the baser appetites of their viewers than they are interested in developing characters.

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) says the movie "may be one of the most poorly made action movies ever, and it's filled with crude, offensive, campy sexual jokes. [It] is an insult to the intelligence of the mentally handicapped."

Bob Waliszewski (Focus on the Family) writes, "The original Charlie's Angels movie might not have meant to spark young women's interest in karate lessons. But it did (as much as 50 percent nationwide). And perhaps, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle doesn't mean to glamorize S&M clubs, lap dancing, cohabitation, crude talk and 'good old-fashioned punch-outs,' but it does. Full Throttle is socially irresponsible, insulting, soft-core porn. Sitting through it borders on self-abuse. Charlie's angels offer nothing for the audience to root for—and demonstrate over and over again that they're anything but angelic."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "There's little attempt at characterization, continuity, or any of the many other basic elements taught in Filmmaking 101. When not flying through the air, dodging bullets, or performing other feats of Matrix-like proportions, the stars fill the action gaps by giggling like schoolgirls and behaving as if they're at a soft-core porn pajama party."

J. Robert Parks (The Phantom Tollbooth) says, "The film hopes to inspire girls to new heights of lewdness with a few karate kicks thrown in. I know that the hipsters among us will claim that the movie's wink-wink approach absolves it of any true responsibility and that us squares should stop taking things so seriously. But I'm tired of that argument. The audience for this movie will include a large number of pre-teens, and even older teens won't be reflecting on the ironic implications when Lucy Liu uses a whip to tear off Diaz's bikini top. They'll just be gawking."

But Anne Navarro (Catholic News Service) says the movie is "like uncorking a bottle of champagne and letting the bubbles tickle one's nose. [It's] an effervescent, giddy ride that duplicates the first, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The film's tone is light-hearted and frivolous, never taking itself, or its actors, too seriously. And the leading ladies join in on the fun, almost winking at the camera as they shake their booties, seeming not to mind the gratuitous shots of the derrieres."

David Bruce (Hollywood Jesus) argues that "the main message of the film is Being-There-For-Others."

And Holly McClure (Crosswalk) raves, "Once I let go and gave myself permission to enjoy this movie, I laughed and had a good time. Parents will have to decide if it's appropriate for their mature teens to see this movie."

Mainstream critics are debating whether the film is a welcome escape into brainless fun or else an unwelcome waste of time.

from Film Forum, 07/17/03

Michael Medved testifies this week that Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle made him "feel personally victimized by this puerile project, since I brought my 14-year-old daughter with me to see the movie. I regret that she sat through this sleazy stupidity—I regret that I sat through it, in fact—and I hope that other potential customers will learn from my mistake."