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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Released: 1997

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 27 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Jay Roach

Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Robert Wagner

It is the first film of the Austin Powers series.

As an actor, Myers should fire his writer self.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 7 years ago

So what do you get when you cryogenically freeze a blend of 60s spy movies like James Bond and TV series like "The Avengers" with slapstick comedy and unthaw the mixture today? AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY.

Mike Myers, from the WAYNE'S WORLD series, plays the good Austin Danger Powers as well as his nemesis Dr. Evil. With never a subtle moment, Myers's acting is always pushing the edge of the comedic envelope. Myers also wrote the script which relies on sight gags, like his extra hairy chest, and puns for most of the humor.

Austin, the best secret agent of the British during the psychedelic 60s, chases Dr. Evil into the future when Dr. Evil gets himself frozen and propelled into 1997 in a gigantic Big Boy statue. Austin's sidekick in the past, a la Mrs. Peel from "The Avengers," is Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers), but in the future, her daughter, Ms. Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), becomes his partner. Ms. Kensington tells him to call her Vanessa, but he has trouble calling women anything other than "baby." Although Vanessa eventually warms up to him, his constantly asking if she wants to "shag" is tremendously off-putting to her. ("Shall we shag now or shall we shag later?" he drones.)

When Dr. Evil returns in 1997 from the big chill (puns come naturally after seeing this movie), he decides to threaten the world with destruction unless it comes up with one million dollars. Number Two (Robert Wagner) tells him about inflation and how he needs to ask for more, so Dr. Evil increases his demand to one hundred billion dollars. A large number of jokes surround Myers's two characters coping with how the world has changed in thirty years. ("Groovy. Smashing. Yea, capitalism!" Austin cheers when he learns the West has won the Cold War.)

The best part of the picture is the costumes by Deena Appel. Austin's outfits includes one with blue striped, skin tight pants, blue striped coat, a bright red polka dot shirt and a contrasting ascot. The women have big hairdos and miniskirt outfits with bold colors of pink, lavender, lime green, and red. Hello, 60s. Equally funny are the sets by Cynthia Kay Charette. Austin's bed in his private jet seems straight out of a Playboy photo shoot. Circular with a leopard skin bedspread, it rotates while a disco light shines on it. Austin figures that it will be a big turn on for Vanessa, but she thinks he's crazy.

Although cleavage is prominently featured, the film does the James Bond tease of scrupulously avoiding any actual nudity. The two best scenes in the film have Austin and Vanessa using fruit and other devices as fig leaves for each other to "accidentally" shield key pieces of their anatomy from the camera. Also, like the Bond films, there is a woman in a minor role with an X-rated name which refers to the size of her private parts.

Myers put a lot of energy into the film's details from the beginning right down to the elaborate action sequence ending, which is set to the music of "Secret Agent Man." With all of his hard work, it is a shame that the result is a highly imaginative, but surprisingly unfunny movie. Cute, certainly, but nothing more. ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION used a similar approach and was much funnier. As an actor, Myers should fire his writer self.

As the ending credits went up, I realized that I had never laughed. A few smiles, but that was it. "There's nothing so pathetic as an aging hipster," Austin says in the film. I couldn't have said it better myself.

AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY runs, thankfully, just 1:27. It is rated PG-13 for sexual situations and profanity. The film would be fine for kids say 10 or 11 and up. I cannot recommend comedies without laughs, but I will give the film ** for the quality of its production.