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
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:
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.
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?
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