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Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeTime-lagged super-spy Austin Powers is astonished to discover that his beautiful bride is, in fact, one of Dr. Evil’s fem-bots. And that isn’t the only trick up the evil genius’ sleeve – he has constructed a time machine so he can travel back to the late 60s, steal Austin’s mojo, and place an enormous laser on the moon which will put the entire world in his command, under threat of a powerful blast from orbit. (Why he couldn’t simply do this in 1999 is…well…a matter for another movie.) Austin must also return to the 60s, recover his mojo, and stop Dr. Evil and the diabolically diminutive Mini-Me from taking over the world (and if the opportunity presents itself for a quick round of shagging, Austin won’t hesitate to do that either).

screenplay by Mike Myers & Michael McCullers
directed by Jay Roach
music by George S. Clinton

Cast: Mike Myers (Austin Powers), Mike Myers (Dr. Evil), Mike Myers (Fat Bastard), Heather Graham (Felicity Shagwell), Michael York (Basil Exposition), Robert Wagner (Number Two), Rob Lowe (Young Number Two), Seth Green (Scott Evil), Mindy Sterling (Frau Fabrissina), Verne J. Troyer (Mini-Me), Elizabeth Hurley (Vanessa), Gia Carides (Robin Swallows), Oliver Muirhead (British Colonel), George Kee Cheung (Chinese Teacher), Jeffrey Meng (Chinese Student), Muse Watson (Klansman), Scott Cooper (Klansman’s son), Douglas Fisher (Man), Kevin Cooney (NORAD Colonel), Clint Howard (Radar Operator Peters), Brian Brooks (Pilot), David Koechner (Co-pilot), Frank Clem (Guitarist with Willie Nelson), Herb Mitchell (Sergeant), Steve Eastin (Umpire), Jane Carr (Woman), Kevin Durand (Assassin), Melissa Justin (Chick #2 at party), Nicholas Walker (Captain of the Guard), Steve Hibbert (Guard at jail cell), David Coy, David Crigger, Tom Ehlen, Dennis Wilson (Carnaby Street band), Eric Winzenreid (Private Army Soldier), Tim Bagley (Friendly dad), Colton James (Friendly son), Mike Hagerty (Peanut vendor), Jack Kehler (Circus barker), Kirk Ward (Soldier), Jeff Garlin (Cyclops), Rachel Wilson (Woody’s fan), Jennifer Coolidge (Woman at football game), John Mahon (NATO Colonel), Michael McDonald (NATO soldier), Jeanette Miller (Teacher), Mary Jo Smith (Unibrau), Carrie Ann Inara, Jennifer Hamilton, Ayesha Orange, Natalie Willes (Felicity’s dancers), John Corella, Alison Waulk, Michelle Elkin, Shealan Spencer, Tovaris Wilson (Party dancers)

Appearing as themselves: Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson, Rebecca Romjin-Stamos, Jerry Springer

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green

Review: Previously, I waxed rhapsodic about the uneven Pleasantville, asking myself if it was a brilliant chunk of celluloid or if it was a big mess. No such quandary with Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. This film is a big mess – a very funny mess at times, but still a mess.

I’ll confess up front that I passed on the first Austin Powers flick, as Mike Myers just really isn’t my cup of tea. But after a number of friends recommended it to me as the funniest thing they’d seen in 1999 (obviously, they hadn’t seen Bowfinger), I splurged and got the DVD.

Mike Myers’ over-the-top performance is charming in a lot of places, and it has to be in order to carry the whole movie along. The script, though it has its moments, is thinner than the paper on which it was printed. The real highlight of the movie is Dr. Evil and his secret plot to use a giant laser – dubbed “the Alan Parsons Project” (just one of many throwaway jokes about which a great deal of noise is made, in direct proportion to how funny the joke actually is). The bizarre dynamics of the bad guys is incredibly amusing, so much more so than the protagonists. The honest truth is that Michael York is the funniest of our heroes, mainly because this is just about the last movie in which one would expect him to be involved. Heather Graham got a lot of buzz from this movie, but she was much better in Bowfinger.

There’s barely a plot to the whole thing, so the main question is: is it funny? Well…sort of. Almost. In places…not at all. For example, the basic premise that Austin would accidentally drink Fat Bastard’s stool sample is amusing (disgusting, yes, but still funny), but the gag-inducing gag is drawn out for such a long time, with such an obvious conclusion, that it loses more belly-laugh potential with each passing second. Now, had Austin taken a swig of the “tea” and then proclaimed that it tasted like shit…that would’ve been funny. Still very sophomoric and predictable humor, but the impact of the moment would have compensated for it a little. Several potentially hilarious jokes are ruined in a similar fashion throughout the movie.

There are two scenes that keep me in stitches every time, though: a pair of montages in which Clint Howard, as a NORAD operator tracking Dr. Evil’s strangely phallic escape rocket, sets off a chain reaction of various short scenes and cameo appearances in which almost every possible colloquialism for the male reproductive organ is exhausted. While it’s still pretty juvenile humor, it still gets a big laugh out of me every time.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me – hopefully the spy spoof’s stopping point rather than the jumping-off point for a new franchise – is good for a laugh if you’ve had a long day and your brain is already shut down for the evening. Trust me, you won’t need to use it to watch this one.

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