Worth A Look: 27.18%
Pretty Bad: 16.18%
Total Crap: 13.27%
16 reviews, 213 user ratings
|Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me
by Ryan Arthur
Yes, it's funny; yes, you'll laugh. Yes, you'll walk out and forget about it almost instantaneously. There's the problem.I *HATED* the first Austin Powers when I saw it in the theater. I grew to enjoy it after repeat viewings on video. I'd like to think that may happen with the sequel, but I'm not holding out hope.
"I am a sexy bitch. Or so I'd have you believe."
AP2: TSWSM picks up with the Austin (Mike Myers, in one of three principal roles) finding out his main squeeze Vanessa (Liz Hurley, in a cameo that just ain't brief enough) is actually a FemBot. She's out of the picture, allowing the swinger to, uh, swing.
Dr. Evil (Myers, again) returns from outer space, and plots for world domination. Again. Number Two presents the Doc with a clone, one-eighth his size. Dr. Evil, meet Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Doc Evil heads back in time to steal Austin's Mojo, with the assist from Fat Bastard (Myers, sweating under a seven hour makeup and prosthetics job). Those three characters comprise the film's best moments.
Austin heads back in time himself, to thwart his archenemy, and hooks up with CIA agent Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham).
The usual hijinks ensue, complete with fat jokes, scatalogical humor, really ugly (but especially tightfitting) outfits, and guest appearances from Tim Robbins, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (that hyphenate is wrong for so many reasons), Jerry Springer, Woody Harrelson, Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello. Man, that Costello fella gets around.
So why isn't it funny?
The focus is more on Dr. Evil than on Austin, this time around. That's fine, because Myers as Dr. Evil is wickedly funny. But there are stretches of straight-faced boredom, as well. Austin is relegated to running around with Shagwell, not that there's anything wrong with that, but he becomes a bit player in his own film. And when we do see him, we're disappointed. We're looking forward to Dr. Evil too much by that point.
The humor is spotty, at best. Some jokes are laugh-out-loud, spew-Coke-and-Jujubees-out-your-nose funny. Some are stone faced mood killers. It's a mixed bag, unfortunately, and you can only stand so much "aren't-I-clever?" winking at the camera.
As for characters...well, it's basically Mike Myers. He does his thing, and he does it well. Heather Graham is pretty, and this role shows her off quite well, but you want something more for her. You want to see if she can live up to to the promise of Boogie Nights. No more Lost In Space's, Heather, no more Scream 2's. Find something that's worthy of your beauty and talent.
That said, the writing is all that's left. The plot's weak. Weaker than the first. If Myers really is trying to make Austin Powers the next Bond franchise, thank God he got time travel out of his system in the second movie. And as much as I like Dr. Evil, for it to be a truly good franchise, he needs a rogue's gallery like Bond. Facing a Lorne Michaels ripoff won't work everytime.
Occasional flashes of brilliance, and occasional instances of head-scratching at something so lame. Maybe it will get better with time. Maybe it'll force Mike Myers to write a better script for the third one.
Let's hope for the latter.Oh, and Lenny Kravitz's cover of "American Woman?" A frigging travesty.
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originally posted: 06/30/99 10:11:50