Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Rob Lowe, Will Ferrell
The movie is never happier than when it is making fun of itself.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
"Do you smoke after sex?" the voluptuous Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley) asks her new husband, Austin Powers (Mike Myers). "I don't know," he replies with his boyish grin. "I've never looked."
Yes, that "International Man of Mystery" is back. This time, in AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, he goes back to England in the Swinging Sixties to recover his mojo. Can't be a world-famous playboy if your mojo is not working. Even a huge clump of chest hair two inches thick isn't enough to wow the women if your mojo is missing.
In a hilarious opening sequence, Austin discovers that his television remote control, including the fast forward, mute and alternate language selection buttons, command his new wife. Once again Myers, who shares the writing credits with Michael McCullers, has clearly put enormous thought and effort into the design of every sight gag and every snippet of dialog in the movie.
The first AUSTIN POWERS film was a bit too cluttered and hurried, as if Myers wanted to pack it with every joke imaginable. This second one goes down a bit easier since it is the more relaxed and good-natured of the two. This time Myers seems more confident of his abilities so he gives his picture more room to breathe.
The good-spirited movie has great fun ripping off a host of other pictures, especially Bond films. The names of the characters, à la Bond, are a particularly enjoyable source of mirth. A Russian sexpot named Ivana Humpalot (Kristen Johnston) engages Austin in an erotic game of chess. Another character's name is Robin Swallows, but her maiden name was Spits. You can probably guess where the writers go with that.
Full of self-deprecating humor, the movie is never happier than when it is making fun of itself. One drive, supposedly in England but clearly filmed in the hills above Los Angeles, has a sign proclaiming "English Countryside." Austin remarks that Southern California doesn't look anything at all like England.
And if you're tired of all those ridiculously blatant product placements, the movie parodies the most hyped company in the movies today, Starbucks. One of the scenes, spoofing a typical council chamber scene from STAR WARS, is set in a huge space needle with a hundred-foot high Starbucks sign on the outside.
The plot has Austin's nemesis, Dr. Evil, going back to 1969 to steal Austin's mojo, which renders him powerless in the present. Austin goes back to recover his mojo. The plot is actually more complicated than this, and Austin makes fun of its logical flaws.
Myers also plays Dr. Evil, as well as a couple of other hard to spot roles. Dr. Evil clones himself into a miniature version of himself called Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). At one-eighth Dr. Evil's size and looking and acting exactly like him, Mini-Me is treated as a cross between a loyal dog and a favorite son.
In the present, Robert Wagner repeats his role as Number 2. In the past, Rob Lowe gives a dead-on performance as the Young Number 2. Lowe, in an uncanny performance, looks and acts so much like Wagner that one could be convinced that they were father and son in real life.
The best part of the casting is the addition of Heather Graham (BOOGIE NIGHTS) as CIA operative Felicity Shagwell. As Austin's fellow spy, she provides a playfulness and an innocence that lightens up the story, which has a tendency to go too much over the top. The sexual chemistry between the two leads is delicious and genuine. (Without giving too much away, let's just say that Austin spends most of the picture as a bachelor.)
The dialog has little gems of wit. After a one-night fling, Dr. Evil expresses some regret the next morning. "I can't let my feelings for you interfere with my taking over the world," he admonishes his paramour. Other lines make little sense but Myers delivers them so confidently, they work anyway. ("He's the snake to my mongoose," Dr. Evil says of Austin, and then admits that it might be the other way around.)
Some of the best bits in the film are visual. Austin and Heather are shown in silhouette inside a tent. She appears to be doing unspeakable things to his body. The camera periodically cuts to the inside of the tent so we can see that nothing unnatural is happening. Even knowing how the joke is performed doesn't diminish its humor or keep you from squirming as you watch.
With energetic music, including such old favorites as "American Woman," and with intricately planned comedy, this latest AUSTIN POWERS should delight the fans of the original as well as attract new ones. This time the sequel is better than its predecessor.
AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME runs 1:33. It is rated PG-13 for sexual innuendo and crude humor and would be fine for kids around 11 or 12 and up.