Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Rating -

Cast & Crew info:
Comedy (US); 1999; Rated PG-13; 95 Minutes

Mike Myers:
Austin Powers/Dr. Evil
Heather Graham: Felicity Shagwell
Michael York: Basil Exposition
Robert Wagner: Number Two
Rob Lowe: Young Number Two
Seth Green: Scott Evil

Produced by Emma Chasin, Michael De Luca, Donna Langley, John S. Lyons, Demi Moore, Mike Myers, Erwin Stoff, Jennifer Todd and Suzanne Todd; Directed by Jay Roach; Screenwritten by Mike Myers and Michael McCullers

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Written by DAVID KEYES

The funniest moment in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" occurs only a few minutes from the beginning, when we see Dr. Evil's miniature clone emerge out of a doorway, and he sticks his little pinkie up to his lip. Evil is shocked that his double has been created at a fraction of his actual size, but likes what he sees regardless. So, what does he do? "I think I'll call him, Mini-Me!"

It's little pieces of dialogue like that which made the original "Austin Powers" movie so interesting and funny. Mike Myers has always been a charming screen personality, but only in this spy-spoof, and in the underrated "54," has he proven to be a force to be reckoned with. One might not have much difficulty picturing him five years down the road as a comic legend of the cinema. So it is with this in mind that I went and saw "The Spy Who Shagged Me" with great expectations. The only question left: could Myers top himself again?

He can, but his movie doesn't. The sequel to the mega-popular spy spoof is something of mixed reaction, a movie in which Myers remains an influencing screen presence, but the script doesn't do him justice. There's no question as to whether I laughed at some points, but that is beside the point of the problem, which is the fact that there's no sharpness in the concept. Part of the success with the first picture was the clever edge that the story forced upon its characters. Here, there is none of that. As is the case with most spoofs, you smile a lot, but that's simply not enough.

Take half of the story, half of the wit, and half of the charm of the first film, and that's what you get here. The plot revolves around all the familiar characters of the first movie, including a couple of extras, one of which is also played by Myers. These characters basically underline the thin story, which matches Austin up to Dr. Evil once again, only this time, Evil wants to go back in time to steal the mojo of Mr. Powers. This time, the spy has under his influence a beautiful CIA agent named Felicity Shagwell, played by the radiant Heather Graham. Both have an interesting chemistry together, but since the premise is not structured on love interest, we are forced to follow Evil's plans up until the end, which get so ridiculous that there's even a cliché or two thrown into them. How many times, for instance, has the bad guy threatened to blow up the President if he does not give him money?

The movie's strength lies in Dr. Evil's son, Scott (Seth Green), who throughout the picture gives us some of the most clever dialogue to handle his father's evil schemes. The best scene he has involves Dr. Evil and his 'mini-me,' discussing the plans of pointing a particular object in space down onto the US capitol. "I have turned the moon," Evil announces, "into a deathstar." Scott chuckles. "Really, Vader?"

Only when the material gathers repugnance does the film completely fall apart. I could have dismissed the lack of satire here, but I could not have accepted the images surrounding some of the humor, like the time in which we see Evil and his son on the Jerry Springer show, venting about what makes a person the most evil. Behind them are seated members of the Klu Klux Klan, and skinheads with swastikas tattooed somewhere on their body. That stuff is nothing to laugh about. For that matter, neither is Jerry Springer.

So what are we left with here? A letdown, really. So much could have succeeded, and yet so much of it fails. The person to blame cannot be directly pinpointed, either; the real fault is a mixture of talents, from the lack of spunk in the writing department to the dull way the camera moves around characters. All of these things are put into a blender, pureed, and taken out to reveal one big mess of disheartening laughter and thin story.

Should there be a third "Austin Powers" flick, I hope that Mr. Myers looks at these filmmakers and shouts to them, "Oh behave!" Who knows? They might even take his advice.

© 1999, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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