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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sequels?

A major-league prattler, Elle governs by sacred "snap cup" and compulsively dispenses unsolicited grooming tips to the scurviest of pols even as her outfits, if not her politics, give new meaning to the term "parlor pink." Sorority sisterhood is powerful. Elle leads a Million Dog March and addresses a joint session of Congress, warning the assorted baldies and wigs that unless her bill is passed, "This country is in for a really bad haircut." There's some sort of political fantasy here waiting to be parsed by Maureen Dowd. In practical terms, however, the latest Legally Blonde seems less a spoof on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton than the game plan for Senator John Edwards, known to the Bushies as the "Breck Girl."

It seems unlikely, but it will be amusing if Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle hangs in for another weekend to kick Terminator's Fourth of July box-office butt. As you may already know, "butt" is the operative word for McG's sequel to his 2000 smash refurbishing of the '70s TV show. Angel Alex (Lucy Liu) is introduced booty-first doing a reverse somersault out of a packing crate; Angel Dylan (Drew Barrymore) is revealed to have grown up as "Helen Zass"; and Angel Natalie (Cameron Diaz) is inspired to twitch her adorable little tush at the slightest provocation, which is to say, very often.

Never say die: Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3.
photo: Robert Zuckerman
Never say die: Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3.


Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Directed by Jonathan Mostow
Written by John Broncato & Michael Ferris
Warner Bros.
Opens July 2

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
Directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Written by Kate Kondell
Opens July 2

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
Directed by McG
Written by John August and Cormac Wibberly & Marianne Wibberly
In release

A loud and frequently funny clown show, Full Throttle is less a grim demolition derby than a day at Coney Island, punctuated by the clatter and screams of the Cyclone. The movie has the seductively bilious colors and irresistible spun ickiness of cotton candy. (Don't put it in your sister's hair.) The stunts, coordinated by Yuen Wo-Ping's kid brother Yuen Cheung-Yan, are more a matter of giddy slapstick than jaw-dropping acrobatics. No attempt is made to render the narrative logical; nor are there any references to an actual world beyond MC Hammer and MTV. Opening with a blatant homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Full Throttle plays out in a garish compost heap of pop-culture references; it's mainly back to the '80s, although McG also seems to be tipping his tam o' to such congenial contemporary baroque schlock-meisters as Baz Luhrmann and even Matthew Barney.

In a marked improvement, the Angel sidekick Bosley has mutated from sour Bill Murray to avid Bernie Mac—who is never more convincing than when he rolls his eyes and mutters, "This is some boo-shi'." (The other male stooges include ever idiotic Matt LeBlanc and puppy-like Luke Wilson, who, here assigned to Diaz, plays the same role in Legally Blonde 2.) Speaking of boy toys, Demi Moore is also on hand, eager to flaunt her frighteningly buff bod and even more scarific humorlessness. Terminatrix beware: The biggest joke in Full Throttle may be that Moore gives the impression of taking it all seriously.

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