'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me' is one of the most schizophrenic
films I've ever seen. They thrown in some new characters that work and some
that don't. Between the three characters that Mike Myers plays, one is
horrible, one is excellent and one is somewhere in the middle. Throw in a
leading lady with a poor sense of comic timing and given very little
direction, and this sequel to the 1997 film caught me by surprise with just
how tastelessly bizarre and unfunny it actually is in many places.
The film opens pretty much where it left off and Dr. Evil (Mike Myers
character #1) is making a return to the Earth where he plots revenge against
Austin Powers (Mike Myers character #2) for foiling his plot in the first
film. Austin and his new bride Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley in a brief cameo
in bizarre contrast to the first film) are on their honeymoon when things go
awry and from there we learn that Dr. Evil's plan is to go back to 1967, the
time when both he and Austin Powers were both cryogenically frozen in the
first film, and steal Austin's "mojo". This is apparently a chemical
compound that gives Austin his groove, his swinging sense of style and his
ability to do his job as a super agent with these qualities intact. Once
weakened, Dr. Evil will attempt to blackmail world forces out of 100 billion
dollars or he will turn his deadly laser gun loose on the Earth from outer
space and will start by destroying Washington, D.C.
Dr. Evil's plan is to add some new and somewhat lethal characters to his
roster and they include one called Fat Bastard, a totally repulsive and
awful character played by Myers and an ingenious and totally whacked out and
hilarious creation Dr. Evil calls Mini-me, a clone 1/8 the size of himself
(Verne Troyer). One of Dr. Evil's right hand men, Number 2 (Robert Wagner)
is portrayed in 1967 by Rob Lowe as a younger version of that character and
it took me a while to figure out if it was Rob Lowe speaking with Robert
Wagner's voice over dubbed or Lowe doing his own impression. It sounded
like the latter which was mildly amusing. Seth Green is back as Dr. Evil's
son Scott as is Mindy Sterling returns as the Nazi-ish Frau Farbissina.
On Austin's side of the playing field, there is the return of Basil
Exposition (Michael York), Austin's boss and a somewhat cardboard character
and this time, filling in for Vanessa Kensington is Felicity Shagwell
(Heather Graham) who looks great but is an extremely bland leading lady with
little life or zest for her role.
The only parts of this installment in the Austin Powers series I enjoyed
were the ones where Dr. Evil is on screen. Austin Powers is only average in
this one and the fat Bastard character is repulsive, unfunny and disgusting
and may actually and literally make you sick. Mini-me is a charmer and the
rest of the film's new characters are only average. 'Austin Powers: The Spy
Who Shagged Me' tries to copy 1998's 'There's Something About Mary' with
some gross-out gags that are unnecessary, jaw-dropping and unbelievably
repellent. Perhaps they figured with such a different look, many wouldn't
notice but those who enjoy film viewing as a hobby can't help but notice.
The film intentionally leaves the door open for a third film and perhaps a
third film would do better if it relied on creating some original humour
rather than lampooning films like the 007 series, 'Star Wars', 'Apollo 13',
the Matt Helm series and others as well. With all of its campy and silly
infrastructure, perhaps it might be better to get a new director as well.
The director of the two Austin Powers movies, Jay Roach, looks like he'd be
better at directing mindless and insulting television commercials. How
about getting David or Jerry Zucker ('Airplane!', 'The Naked Gun') or even
John Landis who is great at irreverent comedy. At least there would be
something to actually laugh at if these guys were at the controls.
Copyright © 2000 Walter Frith