Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle came on HBO just recently, and two things occurred to me. 1) What hath The Matrix wrought? and 2) Bill Murray is no assclown.
1) CA:FT is loaded start to finish with the 360 degree view, stop action wire stunts that began with The Matrix. Memo to Hollywood: This is no longer cool enough to dwell on. But at least it’s better than a bunch of chatter and, to its credit, CA:FT is very light on the chatter. Over-the-top action mixed with lots bare flesh are what this movie is about. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If the pace keeps up, if it doesn’t take itself too seriously, you get a middling piece of eye candy. If the narrow plot and 2-D characters have at least some sort of coherence, you get a good piece of eye candy. The first Angels was good eye candy, this one is middling.
Seriously, we need to get over the hyperactive, FX-pumped Kung-Fu antics and get back focusing a smart camera angles and clever choreography. Nothing here is as compelling as the fight scenes Bruce Lee did in Enter the Dragon ’round about 30 years ago.
2) Bill Murray doesn’t return to his role as Bosley. The role was given to Bernie Mac. The Bosley role also changes from a classically comic bungling sidekick (as portrayed by Murray), to a brainless assclown (as portrayed by Mac). If Bill Murray knows anything, it’s the difference between comedy and assclownery. Witness the difference between Carl Spackler in Caddyshack, and virtually any role in the abysmal Caddyshack II, which Murray stayed away from. This is why Bill Murray gets to do top notch pictures like Lost in Translation while every other SNL alum is in the casting director’s file under ‘A’ for assclown.
Here’s something odd. 20 or 25 years ago I would have given odds that John Cleese was going to be the dominant comedian/actor of our times, what with The Pythons and Fawlty Towers and a couple of decent flicks — Clockwise, A Fish Called Wanda — under his belt. And here is Cleese taking a bit role in CA:FT (playing Lucy Liu’s dad — ??), while Bill Murray and Oscar are mentioned in the same sentence. Never would have guessed.
Anyway, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is not worth renting. The best part is the hot chicks and chances are you’ve seen them in various stages of undress over the years anyway. It is worth catching on HBO or ultimately TNT, TBS, USA, WGN, Comedy, Sci-Fi, on down to Community Access, if you’re looking for a pointless distraction.