Based on the Dark Horse comic book, "Mystery Men" is another one of those "looks-better-than-it-really-is" movies.The city's main superhero, Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), who is more of a walking advertisement (Pepsi, Ray-O-Vak, Pennzoil), is captured by super-villain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). What sorry attempt of a story follows is the recruitment of a bunch of wannabe heroes to save Amazing: Mr. Furious, The Blue Raja, The Bowler, etc. (Garofalo is the hilarious stand-out as she tots around her transparent bowling ball with her father's skull.)
The film is eye-candy, boasting a beautiful production design, and not to mention a terrific cast (Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Kel Mitchell, Paul Reubens, and the aforementioned). But "Mystery Men" suffers from trying to be too hip and cool. There are plenty of ensemble movies that make good use of the actors' individual talents, but this crams all names and faces in without giving it any substance to work with. It really is a disappointment.
I've never tried to adapt a comic book, so I really don't know how hard it would be to turn in essence a "serial series" into one whole movie. I think the main idea to correctly adapt a comic-cum-movie is through a thourough introduction of characters, and one good, solid conflict. But "Mystery Men" spends very little time actually acquainting us with its protagonists, and undertakes the same battles over multiple times.
Laughs are scattered. If this were a comic book satire, there would be so much material to scath. This was put into the wrong hands; someone like Kevin Smith would have turned this into a real adventure rather than a dry bore. After they lose enough battles, you want to give up for them. No one enjoys losing over and over; it becomes a monotonous lack of fun. At best, it's like a Nintendo game where you keep losing at the second level, and when you finally beat the game, the payoff isn't nearly worth the effort you put in it.Final Verdict: D.