Mystery Men

Reviewed By Improv King
Posted 08/21/99 11:46:20

"Ehh... okay I guess."
3 stars (Average)

Ever since the uber-camp of Batman & Robin, the whole comic book hero movie genre has never been riper for satire. There are many cliches that are deflated and tuned inside out for yuks throughout. Besides, who among us has never at least once seriously considered how cool it would be to have a superpower, no matter how lame? Ultimately, though, Mystery Men falls into the same trap as the movies it makes fun of - too much money spent on sets, not enough on the script.

The biggest problem with the film is its main character, Mr. Furious, played by Ben Stiller. Furious is supposed to be powered by his own fury (which he always threatens to release), but he's really just a schmucky wannabe whose power is completely fake - he's a super-hero poseur. This is funny for the first few minutes, but as the movie goes on Stiller's impotent whining becomes less and less sympathetic, and a drag on the film. Same too with Paul Reubens' Spleen - super flatulence is a one-note joke at best (although I couldn't help but giggle "Hee Hee, that's Pee-Wee!" every time he spoke). The script is disappointing because it plays both sides of the fence - while making fun of such standard cliches as "all the hero needs to disguise himself is a pair of glasses" and "all heroes must enter/leave with a witty turn of phrase", the cliche of "the hero discovers their power was inside them all the time" is used not once, but TWICE!
So why go and see Mystery Men, or at least rent it on video? Three reasons:
1. Geoffrey Rush. The lines he gets in the film don't do him justice, but goddamn, he's a great supervillain.
2. Janeane Garofalo. Very good casting for a film like this: with her semi-detached "I don't really need this" air, she gets all the best laughs.
3. BILL MACY. This guy should get a Oscar nod for this one: out of all the super-characters in this film, he's the only one I believed every step of the way. The Shoveler should get his own movie!

Just a couple of random notes to end on: 1.Give credit to the film makers for not playing that Smashmouth song to death on the soundtrack. 2. Eddie Izzard should fire his agent - after being in the complete disaster The Avengers, THIS is his follow up?!?

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