Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 7 Beans
think I need to explain my position as a fan of the original "Austin Powers" film before I commence with my unpleasant review of its sequel. I liked "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." Before "Austin Powers," there was really no great James Bond parody. Part of the charm of the film was in that it was mainly concerned with the 1960s Bond films. Why parody 30-year-old movies? Who cares? If it's funny, that's a good enough reason to do it.
And "Austin Powers" was funny. Sexual innuendo, 60s/90s culture clash, and Dr. Evil-- a combination that worked. But it wasn't perfect. There were scenes that fell flat, and some jokes that didn't work. Overall, however, "Austin Powers" worked because it was original (relatively speaking), funny, and very well-done. Despite yourself, you became involved with the characters. Mike Myers did an excellent job writing characters the audience could love.
Which is a huge part of the problem with "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." Before the opening credits are over, the audience is asked to disregard the events of the first film, and even to forget Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley) outright. Basically, it feels like the time spent watching the first movie was a waste: a 95-minute setup for a joke that's over before the new movie begins.
Remember all the jokes from the first film? Well, prepare to be reminded of them every minute of this film. "The Spy Who Shagged Me" should have a notice posted somewhere on the film stock that says "85% Recycled Material." Far too much of the film feels like a rehashing of the most popular elements from the first.
Another big problem: characters acting out of character. Dr. Evil hardly seems like the same Dr. Evil. He's too active. As a friend of mine said when we saw the previews, "he moves around too much." The Dr. Evil from the first film spent nearly the entire film sitting down. Something about him just feels wrong. Austin acts just the way he acted in the beginning of the first film, which I guess makes sense; it still feels like any progress the character made in the first film has been tossed off.
And then there's Fat Bastard.
This is not to say that there is nothing funny about "The Spy Who Shagged Me." Mini-me is often the most entertaining character in the film. The scene in which Dr. Evil drinks Austin's mojo and seduces Frau Farbissina is great. Rob Lowe is perfect as Young Number Two. And a couple of the Dr. Evil's ship/phallic symbol jokes caught me off guard. So the film's not entirely without merit.
Despite a few good comedic bits, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" doesn't work. It tries to be as funny as the first film while adding often-repulsive humor (such as the now-infamous scene where Austin drinks excrement and any scene at all with Fat Bastard) in an appeal to the lowest common denominator. If you liked the first one for the reasons I listed above, you probably won't care too much for this sequel. If you like poop jokes and dick jokes, however, you should see this film immediately. God help us all if the next one is worse.
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