Or is Full Throttle just a ‘drastic twitch’ in film evolution?
Wheeeee! I think the last movie I gave the orgasmic popcorn box to was the Julie Taymor adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus, because that was one damned fine movie. Unfortunately, that was four years ago, and there hasn’t been much I’ve seen since that has compelled me to spill popcorn all over the aisles. Is McG’s sequel to Charlie’s Angels one damned fine movie?
Hell no, not even close.
But a fishnet-clad Lucy Liu performing a striptease will do in the interim. I’ll never hear the Pink Panther theme again without thinking, “Mmm … fishnet.” I’m happy with that. And I’m happy with the fact that I’m the only reviewer on the planet to mention Shakespeare in the same breath as this summer’s ultimate jiggle-fest. On the other hand, Shakespeare wasn’t setting out to create art; his main aim was to entertain the punters with ribald ripostes and lowbrow innuendo.
Cinematically speaking, Full Throttle can be viewed as either an abomination or as a drastic twitch in the evolution of film. First of all, there is absolutely no plot. None. Sure, there’s a handful of absent-mindedly sketched subplots that, when run concurrently, seem to give the appearance of a narrative. When thrown together, shaken vigorously (like Cameron Diaz’ ass every five minutes here), and the details sifted out, we have the Angels sent to retrieve two titanium rings that when matched hold the names of the entire Witness Relocation database. Demi Moore as a bad Angel wants to sell the details to interested parties … hold on a second … I’m getting a headache trying to remember any more of the plot.
Mmm … fishnet.
OK, I’m back.
So, if you’re handed a five-page script of random grade-school exchanges (imagine the numerous possibilities of commenting on the name “Helen Zaas") and vague scenarios, what to do? Well, if you’re ADD-kiddie McG, you go ride bikes! Or rather, our three toothsome beauties do. And surfboards! And whatever else lies nearby.
Add to the recipe a virtual fornicopia of pop-culture references (from such throwaway nods as having an invite to the Rydell High School reunion to introducing one baddie as a virtual Max Cady from Cape Fear) and a soundtrack that at points threatens to let the dialogue creep out intelligibly. Throw in lots of chases and explosions and improbable escapes, and you have a trailer fleshed out (literally and figuratively) into a feature length … uh, trailer. But since it seems that the trailers lately have to be better than the actual movies, that works out here.
If you were to crack open McG’s skull and sift about its contents, what you’d find would be a Matrix-styled world where bikini-clad cuties are introduced ass-first, kick down with serious wire fu and move in bullet time. Set pieces are so giddily preposterous that one is obliged to giggle at the sheer audacity of the man’s mind at work. The only minor quibbles here are Demi wandering about plank faced and clad at nearly every point in a string bikini as if auditioning her body to prove she’s still castable, and Bernie Mac just being annoying … wait, did I mention that at one point Liu uses a bullwhip to strip off Diaz’ clothes? And that Drew Barrymore makes for one very cute redhead? Demi and Bernie who?
Experiencing Full Throttle is akin to watching a wall of Marshall-stacked TV monitors playing different music videos simultaneously at maximum volume. On acid. Ten minutes after leaving the theater, I realized that I was smoking a cigarette that I had forgotten to light.
And that’s a good thing.