July 07, 2003 12:00 PM

Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac, Demi Moore

Kicks, giggles and jiggle galore are served up with gusto in this second Charlie’s Angels film, a bantering, buoyant, busy bundle of likable fluff. This latest chapter revels in what clearly now is the ruling aesthetic for the series: Girls just want to have fun. And fun it is—up to a point when it becomes clear there’s really no point, at which point one’s attention may drift, but only as far as the nearest buff, barely clad body onscreen.

The plot is a teetering pile of piffle about glamorous, covert private detectives Natalie Cook (Diaz), Dylan Sanders (Barrymore) and Alex Munday (Liu) tracking down two stolen titanium rings that contain the names of everyone in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Collectively, of course, these three gals are Charlie’s Angels, the cinematic successors of the oft-changing trio in the identically titled 1976-81 TV series. The sequel’s story line is merely an excuse for whizbang chase and fight scenes inventively staged and shot by director McG (who also did the 2000 original), an endless parade of clingy outfits modeled by our leading ladies and dialogue riddled with double entendre (discussing surfing, Natalie says, “I just love to ride when it’s hard and wet”). There are also a barrelful of cameos—look for ur-Angel Jaclyn Smith, Bruce Willis, singer Pink, rapper Eve, Carrie Fisher and more. And last, but in no way least, the film provides a glowing showcase for the return of Moore, who turns up as a conniving ex-Angel with her va-va-va-voom fully intact.

Full Throttle is about having your cheesecake—and beefcake, since several ‘pectacular fellows stride shirtless through the movie—without giving up your feminist bonafides. The movie wants to have it both ways, and does, as these brainy, beautiful babes brawnily kick butt. Playing to their individual strengths, a ditsy Diaz excels at the comedy bits, a wily Barrymore gives the most textured performance, and a toned Liu is the fiercest fighter. Long may these angels fly. (PG-13)

BOTTOM LINE: Wing-a-ding-ding

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