Thursday, June 6, 2013

Charlie's Angels (1&2)

Charlie's Angels (1&2): My memories of Charlie's Angels the TV show are pretty sparse. [1]  In fact, my only specific memory of the show [2] is an episode in which someone is trying to kill at least one of the angels and some bad guys replace the shower head in her apartment with a flame thrower.  Fortunately for whichever angel it was, she was the type of person who leans in and turns on the shower before getting in. [3]  Thus she avoids the trap.

That's it.  That's the only actual memory of any plot line or scene from the show.

So, in 2000 when the first movie came out, I can't say I was overly excited.  I wasn't antagonistic or anything, but I felt no burning desire to rush to the theater either.

When I did finally end up seeing it [4] I was pleasantly surprised on all fronts.  The movie struck all of the right nostalgia chords with me[5] and I was particularly pleased that they got John Forsythe to continue as the voice of Charlie.  Casting Bill Murray as Bosley could have been a disaster, but wasn't. [6] There were good stunts, well choreographed fights and an ample amount of explosions.  You got Crispin Glover in a role that let him be as creepy as he wants [7].  Plenty of cameos.  And best of all the plot was not too terrible.

It was good enough that when the sequel came out, I was actually excited to see it.  And I have watched it on DVD several times since then.

Which isn't to say that it doesn't have its problems.  Instead, it's just that any problems are minor enough that they are easily forgiven and quickly forgotten.

Charlie's Angels 2, is actually called Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.  It has nearly the same cast (Diaz, Barrymore and Liu all return as the angels) with one big exception.  This time the role of Bosley is played by Bernie Mac.  [Insert sound of screeching tires here.]

That's right, Bernie Mac.[8]

To give the writers some credit, they don't actually expect you to believe it's the same guy.  Instead you are supposed to believe that they are brothers. [9]

Mac does a fine enough job, but you can't ever quite get past the fact that he's not Bill Murray. [10]

As for the movie, my guess is that when they decided to make a sequel they sat down and said, "We want it to be just like the first one, but with more of everything."

What they got was too much of everything.

The movie somehow loses the nostalgia feel completely.  John Forsythe is still there playing a small plastic box, but everything somehow seems less Charlie's Angels than before. [11]  The stunts are way too over the top and at times just downright stupid.  The fights are not nearly so well choreographed and at times you can practically see the wires. [12] And worst of all the plot is just stupid.

I mean really really stupid. [13]

Which really makes it no surprise that they never made a third one.

Charlie's Angels (2000): B
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003): D- 

[1] - Which is another way of saying that I didn't watch it much.
[2] - As opposed to vague impressions of the three main women being good looking, Bosley being kind of a dork, Charlie essentially being a box on a desk and of the quick sound they used for a scene change.
[3] - Which I pretty much assume is most everyone.  (Except for people who think freezing their bits off waiting for the water to warm up is a great way to start a shower.)
[4] - Which was actually in the theater, but I don't remember how or why I went to see it (as opposed to seeing something else).
[5] - Which given my lack of specific memories was impressive.
[6] - Don't get me wrong, I like Bill Murray.  But putting him in as Bosley meant Bosley becoming more front and center and let's face it, nobody was at the theater looking to see Bill.
[7] - And boy can that fellow get weird.  Anyone else remember that time on Letterman? "And I can kick."
[8] - I suppose the fact that Bill Murray evidently turned down the opportunity to be in the sequel should have been a red flag.
[9] - I said, 'some credit', not 'a lot of credit'.
[10] - Especially since they keep bringing it up.
[11] - Which is strange because they have a cameo by Jaclyn Smith, one of the original Charlie's Angels
[12] - Okay you can't actually 'see' the wires, but the laws of physics make their presence undeniable.
[13] - Seriously bad stupid.

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