Movie Review By Casey McCabe
When I first saw "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" I couldn't wait for the sequel. Not so much because I enjoyed the Sixties spy parody, which I did, but because I was sure Mike Myers could do better. I always liked Myers, who seemed more inventive and fearless than most his peers on Saturday Night Live. And I figured he was sharp enough to learn the lesson they still don't get at SNL: that each bit should end precisely when it stops being funny.
"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" turns out to be a perfectly worthy sequel. And I admit feeling a bit silly holding it up to any rational standard of film criticism. It's just that both movies were well on their way to being among the funniest things I've ever seen, only to pull up lame just a few too many times.
Myers produced, co-wrote and plays three roles in the film, reprising his swingin' sixties British spy, the Blofeld inspired Dr. Evil, and adding a flatulent 500 pound Scottish hit man named Fat Bastard. Technically the film was directed by Jay Roach, who also helmed the original, but clearly Myers was allowed to do whatever he wanted. And perhaps no actor in film today so enjoys seeing himself naked. And ugly. Now that's fearless. You almost hate to reign in a guy like Mike Myers. At the same time you'd love to be his editor. Some bits just need a tiny, merciful trim. Others, like the whole Fat Bastard character, are worse than unnecessary. They put the brakes on an otherwise great romp.
And there are great bits. Dr. Evil returning from space hibernation to find his loyal operatives have already secured global domination in his absence by investing in Starbucks. Dr. Evil surprising his estranged son Scott on a Jerry Springer show entitled "My Father is Evil and Wants To Take Over The World," Austin Powers in his fashion photographer alter ego, trying to bring out the animal in his supermodels, starting with tigers then moving onto burrowing rodents.
But when it wallows? Well I enjoy a good pee-pee and poopy gag as much as the next guy. Unless maybe that guy's Myers or my young nephews who really do howl at this stuff. But the funnier film would have been a little less anal, a little more retentive.
The plot? The surprise cameos? I'd hate to ruin it for you. Suffice to say "The Spy Who Shagged Me" leaves all doors open for another sequel. Mike Myers, you know I love you, baby. But next time get yourself a real Dr. No. As in someone who will tell you, "No, Mike. That's enough."
© 1999 - Casey McCabe - Air Date: 6/99
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