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Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Starring: Mike Myers, Heather Graham
Director: Jay Roach
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: June 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Kristen Johnston, Verne Troyer

Review by Walter Frith
1½ stars out of 4

'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

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