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Check your brain at the box office

For those of you who found yourselves with a few die-hard brain cells still functioning after 'Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle,' we can confidently recommend 'Bad Boys II' as just what the doctor ordered for your affordable lobotomy needs.

But this latest assault on the senses from hackmeister Michael Bay is likely to perform better at the box office than 'Full Throttle,' which apparently overestimated the appeal that self-satisfied, butt-kicking chicks have for male audiences. Or perhaps it overestimated everybody's tolerance for filmmakers too pleased with themselves to care what audiences think, and for action so digitally ravaged it's like rubbing your eyes with sandpaper.

'Full Throttle' is like watching 50 or 60 Mountain Dew commercials in a row, or just drinking 50 or 60 Mountain Dews in a row. 'Bad Boys II' is more like a commercial for designer testosterone. It's the original 'Bad Boys' supersized, as big and slick as a heavily oiled steroid freak. And it's also two and a half hours long! (Sure, you can laugh; you weren't there.)

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith return as Miami cops Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey, battling a big-time drug dealer and squabbling with each other. See, family man Burnett has been getting some therapy and is having trouble staying centered when Lowrey's cowboy antics keep getting them in touch with exploding things. And now, Mike's making time with Marcus' dishy sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), a federal agent making a case against the same dealer.

Lawrence's therapy angle may be some kind of in joke, given that the whole film seems intended to rehabilitate the comic's flagging career. True, Smith's 'Ali' and Bay's 'Pearl Harbor' both performed below expectations, but Lawrence is the one who really seemed to be in trouble. So his friends threw him this get-well blowout, and Lawrence was apparently so touched he took time out from his busy schedule of running around naked, speaking gibberish, brandishing a gun and passing out from 'dehydration.' Well, actually, doing this movie amounts to much the same thing, only in a more profitable context.

It's the kind of movie for which it might be simpler and more to the point to describe the quality of the noises it makes, rather than what happens in it. You know, the varying resonances of the explosions, or the subtle rhythmic changes that can be worked on the 'f' word when it's spoken alone or in conjunction with the colorful modifier 'mother.'

But then we would be unable to describe such pleasures as the rat sex scene, the exploding cars, the overstuffed tub o' body parts, the bargain-basement 'Scarface' villainy, the exploding people, the car chase with corpses spilling out of a meat wagon and under various vehicles (no real corpses were injured in the making of this film), the bullet-riddled blond Rastafarians and the wacky scene in the morgue in which Smith ogles a dead bimbo (no bimbos were killed in the making of this film) before plundering the exposed guts of several fat cadavers like a kid rooting for a Cracker Jack prize.

And, after all, it is just such moments as these that help make this chunky stream of projectile swill two and a half hours long!