I felt a bit defensive tonight. At some point in every conversation I've had, I had to throw up my arms in a mock defensive posture and say, "No, really, I'm not kidding. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is a really good movie. Seriously."

No, seriously.

In fact, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle may be the surprise movie of the summer, because soon people are going to wake up and realize that it may just be what the James Bond franchise could be. The action and the effects are well-choreographed, believable and fun. It is, undoubtedly, sexy. And it shows that, in fact, you can be funny through a whole movie and still credibly maintain the plot of an action flick.

Quite a bit of the credit for the success of the movie should go to the cast. Stars Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu are perfect for their roles -- sexy but ready to kick ass, and with just the right sense of attitude-filled humor that makes the movie worth watching. The supporting cast is a hit too: Bernie Mac does a good job of filling Bill Murray's shoes as Bosley; Crispin Glover, as the Thin Man, is the most darkly mysterious character since Darth Maul and John Cleese is his usual cutup self. Only Matt LeBlanc, in a supporting role as Alex's (Liu) boyfriend, falls flat.

Much of the credit, though, should go to director McG, who creates the nuanced, layered look and the stop-time effects that make this movie seem like the Bond heir in the early 21st century. From the start, the movie is uniquely cut and choreographed, and the whole style is hip and fresh.

There are, of course, some weak spots: moments that are too predictable or too fake, but all in all, I'll have to keep defending it. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is, pure and simple, a damn good movie.


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