Sunday, March 15, 2015

Good Morning, Angels

Charlie's Angels
Director: McG
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Luke Wilson, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover, Matt LeBlanc
Released: November 3, 2000

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
Director: McG
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Luke Wilson, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick
Released: June 27, 2003
Viewed in theaters: June 30, 2003

This is one of those (not-so-rare) instances where I loved the first movie and loathed the sequel. The first movie was a lot of fun and effortless and the second movie just felt like it was trying too hard. The first movie even pokes fun at itself in the first minutes of the film when one of our angels is on a plane (disguised as L.L. Cool J - don't ask...I mean she's not actually disguised as rapper/actor L.L. Cool J, (though that would be kind of awesome) but rather an African dignitary who  is played by L.L. Cool J in a small cameo) and the movie playing on the flight is T.J. Hooker: The Movie and he (she?) makes a comment about another retro TV series being turned into a movie. Moments later, the disguised Angel has apprehended the bad guy on the plane with the bomb, blown a hole through in the plane to escape with the bad guy and bomb (though most likely everyone else still on the plane probably died since, um, hello, DECOMPRESSION!!! That plane probably crashed into the ocean moments later!) and landed in a speedboat where the other Angels met up with her. We see "L.L. Cool J" take off "his" mask and it's Dylan (Drew Barrymore). Now I can believe the (ridiculously believable) mask and she had a voice box to change her voice, but how do you explain how she suddenly grew at least a foot? This was the only time in the movie any of the Angels have Mystique-levels of transforming into other people.

The Angels of 2000 are Natalie (Cameron Diaz), who is the happy-go-lucky one. She comes across as ditzy sometimes, even though she's actually quite smart and a bit of a nerd. And she loves to dance. Dylan is the rebel and Alex (Lucy Liu) is the studious, serious one. They get their assignments from their boss, Charlie, who we never see. He is voiced by John Forsythe who also voiced Charlie in the TV series (which I've never seen, but of course am aware of). His assistant, Bosley helps the angels out with missions, though let's be honest, they do all the work.  He is played by Bill Murray who wasn't in the sequel (smart choice) and was replaced by Bernie Mac who is his adopted brother. Or something like that.

What I like about their missions is that they're not trying to save the world from destruction like so many superhero movies are about. I understand that world destruction is the worst thing that can happen, but it can get a little tiring and redundant sometimes. Instead they are tasked to find a kidnapped computer programmer, Knox (Sam Rockwell), who has created a voice recognition program that is widely coveted. They come across a strange man who calls himself the Thin Man (Crispin Glover - George McFly himself!). He has a strange fetish with women's hair as he'll yank out quite a bit from the girls' heads and then creepily runs it under his nose. The Angels find Knox who is suspected to be kidnapped by the Thin Man and reunite him with his business partner, Victoria (Kelly Lynch).

But it turns out Knox and Victoria were behind the whole thing and were working with the Thin Man to fake the kidnapping! They are planning on killing Charlie at his beach house with a missile and the Angels must stop him. But before they do that, they must rescue Bosley who has been kidnapped. Dylan has been taken and tied up to a chair and in a scene ripped off from the one in True Lines where Arnold tells the bad guys exactly what he is going to do to them and proceeds to do exactly what he said, Dylan tells her captors what she's going to do to them and ends with the movie's most memorable line, "And that's called kicking your ass!"

There's a lot of dressing up in sexy costumes (like dominatrixes and race car assistants), although in one scene Natalie and Dylan are dressed as businessmen to break into the software company building. All the angels have love interests. Alex is dating an actor named Jason (played by Matt LeBlanc, although he's an action star and not a soap opera star like Joey Tribbiani) who she keeps what she does from and tells him she's a massage therapist. Natalie meets a bartender, Pete (Luke Wilson) and they date in the first movie and get...a puppy in the second. Not engaged, like everyone thought she would. Dylan is seeing this guy, Chad. He's played by Tom Green and I had completely (and happily) forgotten about his existence until I was reminded of it when I saw him again. I don't know if Dylan was that serious about him because she ended up getting seduced by Knox and sleeping with him when he was trying to get information from him before she found out he was part of the bad guy team. Tom Green is so painfully unfunny in this that it's not even...funny. I forgot that he and Drew Barrymore were married for, like, 3 months around this time. He even ruins one of the songs on the soundtrack, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"  because he sings a verse before the song starts and it hurts your eardrums.

Speaking of the soundtrack (which I own...both movies'), pretty much any song with "angel" in the title is in the movie. "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" is in it. "Angel's Eye" by Aerosmith is in it. I'm pretty sure I heard "Angel of the Morning" during it.

Then we have Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle which is so bad. While the fight scenes appeared to be ripped off from The Matrix at times in the first movie, they could be plausible in the context of the film. There's a lot of action scenes in the second movie and there all so ridiculous and ludicrous. There's a scene where the Angels are at a motorbike competition (and Pink has a cameo as the person who starts the race and while this is going on, they're playing a Pink song, which just seems way too on the nose). The Angels are after their bad guy and there's a scene where the bad guy has gone up in the air on his motor bike, flips upside down, takes out two guns and shoots at the angels, does a flip and sits upright on his bike...all before landing on the ground! Of course, this is all done in slow motion, but there is no way in hell anybody could do all that in real time. How stupid do you think we are, movie?

This time, the Angels are trying to locate two rings, that when put together, produce all the names of those in the witness protection program. Yeah, totally ridiculous...but at least they stayed clear from going the saving the world from imminent destruction route! The bad guy, Seamus (Justin Theroux), needs this list because he used to date Dylan who we learn is part of the witness protection program. (Well, at least she didn't have to move to Omaha and work at Cinnabun!) Her name used to be Helen Zaas (and yes, they did every joke under the sun with that name) who dated Seamus back in the day, but when she saw him kill someone, she ratted on him and had to be taken into protective custody. They found out Seamus had been released "that day" and now he wants to get revenge on Dylan.

The other bad guy is Madison (Demi Moore), an ex-Angel who has gone rouge. She tries to kill the Angels (because she uses guns as opposed to just fighting) because...I really don't know because this movie is so stupid and I really didn't care. Oh...and the Thin Man is back! For no reason whatsoever. For some reason, I was sure they had killed him in the first movie, but I was probably confusing him with Knox. And in this movie he's HELPING the angels. Huh? When did this happen? He and Dylan even share a "moment" right before Seamus throws him off the rooftop of the building they're on top of and he falls to his death and Dylan is devastated that this guy she's been in love with for two seconds (and let's not forget...tried to KILL her in the first movie!) is dead. Just go away, movie. You're exhausting me.

Shia LaBouf is in the movie for about twenty minutes. His parents were killed by Seamus and I guess the Angels are worried that he will be his next target, so he is taken into hiding at Bosley's mother's house. I have no idea why he was even in the movie...maybe someone on this movie worked on that Disney series he did and wanted him to be part of it. Who knows. There was a clever cameo where Jaclyn Smith plays an ex-Angel, Kelly (which was her character's name on retro Charlie's Angels...I checked) who helps guide Dylan. A not so clever cameo is from the Pussycat Dolls. Remember them? God, they are the worst. I think this was back when they were popular. The Angels have to do a sexy dance to...get something from a bad guy. I don't remember and I don't care.

There was one funny moment where they're at a crime scene and spoof CSI: but that's the only nice thing I can say about this movie. It is just so awful! They have the girls dance to "Can't Touch This" for no reason other than it's funny! Every time the girls try to escape from being killed, they jump up in the air and do a slow motion. Every damn time! There are stupid sound effects that make it seem like you're watching a Saturday morning cartoon. It is so bad! I can't, I just can't!

So here is my verdict:
Charlie's Angels - Heaven
Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle - Hell

No comments:

Post a Comment