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Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

Charlie's Angel's is now more. More action. More explosions. More ass shakin. More of everything except the two things I actually wanted more of: Bill Murray and Crispin Glover. Murray has opted out, to be replaced as Bosley by Bernie Mac. Crispin returns in a few brilliant moments as the Thin Man, but his part is small at best. Charlie's Angels has gone Full Throttle and left behind the two things that helped it most.

Directed once again by the arrogantly named McG (I like my McG with cheese), Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle starts off with a bang, blowing stuff up and splattering rampant female sexuality across the screen. McG has made his sequel not to build on some finely crafted story, but just crank things up to ten. Make that ten and a half. In doing so, it becomes a ridiculous parody of the previous movie, which was itself already a ridiculous parody of something else.

The real problem is that there just isn't much holding Full Throttle's story together. Granted, it is an action flick, but the screeching plot developments squealed out by over-sugared Angels seldom make sense, even if you manage to understand them. In some ways this reminds me of what it was like to watch Goonies as an adult. When I was 10, Goonies seemed like a wonderful world of fun. Seeing it as an adult, I discovered that it was in fact just an incomprehensible furball of grungy kids running around screaming.

Not many kids are more hyper than Cameron Diaz, who has officially completed her transformation from classical beauty to ragged out, skeleton-faced spazz. Her appearance has degenerated to the point that she is literally disturbing to look at. McG obviously thinks otherwise, and spends 108 minutes of film trying to convince me she is the sexiest thing on the planet. I came inches from vomiting. Eat a Twinkie; rub in some Vaseline Intensive Care or SOMETHING.

Frankly, Lucy Liu isn't looking much better these days. I don't know who does the catering on McG's set, but Lucy and Cameron should think about sneaking in candy. Lucy though, overly skinny as she has become, owns a real talent for action. She's toyed around with it on her own before, in the pretty horrid Ecks vs Sever for instance. But no one seems to know how to use her quite like McG. In Full Throttle, as she did in the first Angels movie, Lucy seems to carry the heaviest kung fu action load, and kicks it out beautifully.

Maybe the best solution for Cameron and Lucy's bony disposition would be to get their hands on whatever it is that sweet Drew is eating. She's looking fit, if not trim. Healthy is still infinitely preferable to the disturbing skin problems and full on anorexia that Diaz is sporting. She's also half responsible for one of the most genuinely entertaining moments that Angels has to offer. The other half is everybody's favorite freak, Crispin Glover; arguably the best thing left in Charlie's Angels and also the most underutilized. What they do to his character, "The Thin Man" at the end is just criminal. Should the world end and the cracks of doom open, vomiting forth a Charlie's Angels 3, I only hope they find a way to rectify this mistake.

One thing CA does know how to do is deliver action with real umpf. Give McG credit for doing a great job of making pain count. Punches and kicks are delivered with a satisfying zest that seems to do real damage and make a deliciously rough pounding sound with each impact. Sadly, his filming style has become otherwise confusing. Hits sound alive and real, but it is generally speaking impossible to follow. The only time things get clear is when something completely ridiculous is about to happen. Take Madison's (Demi Moore) wicked witch of the west style romp across the clouds, where she seemingly gains the ability to fly via some sort of magic super-robe. At least that's the best I can come up with to describe her cackling superwoman flight through an explosion lit sky. That scene itself may actually be the worst moment I've seen on film all year. Worst than anything Bringing Down the House had to offer; white boy boogie dancing and all.

Before, Bosley, as played by Bill Murray was the one thing that somewhat tied all the plotless action bits together. Now, Murray has been replaced by Mac. Bernie Mac is an entertaining guy and a talented comedian. He's not a bad Bosley, just an underwritten one. You've seen most of his lines in the trailer, including the best ones about sand in his crotch. The funny, mood saving character built up by Bill Murray is now just a foot note, to make more room for a couple dozen more useless celebrity cameos. Maybe we could have done without yet another opportunity for Luke Wilson to play the boyfriend of someone more important.

Some movies know how to make you laugh. Some deliver just flat out fun. Good summer popcorn flicks can be a mix of all or none of that, as long as they give it a good run. McG's fetishistic breast fest brings none of that or anything else to the table, and achieves at best the status of major irritant. Well intentioned rock music and an encyclopedia knowledge of pop culture can only carry a movie so far.