An awkward moment in the office between Dr. Evil and Frau Barbissina.
The Austin Powers movies are childish, rely too heavily on catch phrases, repeat jokes that often go on for too long and many of them rely on toilet humor. I know all of that and yet I don't care. They make me laugh. They're silly for silliness sake and Mike Meyers is so very likable and so charming in a bizarre way that I can't help but enjoy myself every time I watch them.
In this, the second installment, Mike Myers returns as Austin Powers; the swinging secret-agent. This time around his arch-nemesis Dr. Evil travels back in time to 1969 when Austin was cryogenically frozen and steals Austin's mojo. He then holds the world for ransom (again) with a laser beam on the moon. Austin follows Dr. Evil back in time where he teams up with CIA Agent Felicity Shagwell to save the world and recover his mojo.
Most of the cast from the first movie is back for this go round. Elizabeth Hurley's Miss Kensington, whom Austin fell in love with in the first movie turns out to be a fembot and explodes early on, thus making Austin single again. Myers adds to his stable of characters with the creation of the enormously Scottish, baby-eating, Fat Bastard. Also new to the series is the miniature Dr. Evil clone, Mini-Me.
There is something to laugh at in nearly every scene of this movie, but some of my favorites are the Jerry Springer show at the beginning ("My Dad is Evil and he wants to take over the world"), the "love scene" between Dr. Evil and Frau ("It got weird didn't it?"), Dr. Evil and Mini-Me's musical number and every scene where there is interaction between Mini-Me and Scott Evil.
There are several scenes that directly spoof the Bond movies. Dr. No (Austin coming out of the surf in Ursula Andress' white bikini), Moonraker (Dr. Evil's outer space lair), You Only Live Twice (the hollowed out volcano lair). I also love the joke Scott makes (which is similar to one that he made in the first Austin Powers) about how Dr. Evil won't just kill Austin but will always lock him up in some easily escapable cell, which has been a flaw in nearly every Bond movie ever made.
So yes, this is a silly and juvenile movie, but it makes me laugh every time. Too often, especially around awards season (which is when I write this), Hollywood pumps out nothing but self-important movies full of serious pretension. It's nice to watch a movie every now and then like this one that is just funny for funny's sake. If you can't enjoy the silliness within it then I feel sorry for you.
Like his father and his uncle, Scott Evil has daddy issues.
I am not the huge Austin Powers fan that my brother is. However, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is my favorite in the series. It does not need to set up his character. It jumps right in with Vanessa thankfully being killed off. The greatest similarity between Austin Powers and James Bond is that neither should ever be monogamous. It introduces Mini-Me and Fat Bastard, as well as adds depth to Frau Farbissina.
Scott is my favorite character because he is the lone voice of reason when it comes to Dr. Evil, “If you've got a time machine, why don't you just go back and kill Austin Powers when he's sitting on the crapper or something?” The scene on the Jerry Springer show is great. Scott asks his dad why he ran out on him. Dr Evil explains that he did it because, “You're semi-evil. You're quasi-evil. You're the margarine of evil. You're the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough.”
Their hate/hate relationship is the best part of the film, and of the three movies, this one shows it off best with the introduction of mini-me as a replacement for Scott. “Scott, you had your chance, okay? I've already had someone created in my image. He's evil, he wants to take over the world, and he fits easily into most overhead storage bins.”
Although Austin uses catch phases, “Oh-behave!” and sexual innuendoes, “Let's hop on the good foot and do the bad thing.” He just seems like a one note joke that does not have a clue. The problem is their is no one who stands up to his bull shit, like Scott does to Dr Evil. Basil just looks perplexed and Felicity just smiles at Austin‘s obnoxious behavior. Had he been paired with a professional (male) secret agent, his actions would rise to a new level of silliness in comparison.
Verne Troyer and Mike Myers as Mini-Me and Dr. Evil in The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Scott, I'm surprised it took you until 2009 to get around to reviewing this movie. I guess I'm not as late to the party as I thought. And with a fourth installment reportedly in the works now seems to be as good a time as any to add my two cents. Joke for joke, The Spy Who Shagged Me just might be the funniest movie released thus far in the franchise.
One thing I thought of while watching it for the first time in a number of years, was that it shares a few similarities with the upcoming Men In Black III, which I've been seeing the trailer for quite often lately. In both movies the star travels back in time to 1969 and in both movies a different actor portrays the younger version of a character from the present time. In this case Rob Lowe impersonates Robert Wagner as the young version of Number Two and in MIB III Josh Brolin plays the 1960's version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K. Just thought I'd point that out.
I have to agree with my brothers about the Jerry Springer spoof. It's quite funny and gets the movie off to a rather hilarious start. Perhaps the most famous thing about this installment is the introduction of Verne Troyer's Mini-Me. In fact he and Dr. Evil steal the movie away from the shagalicious super spy. They crack me up the way they do air quotes in unison every time they say “laser” or “time-machine” or “death star”. And Dr. Evil using 1990's slang while speaking to the President of the United States in 1969 is priceless. “Talk to the hand, 'cause the face don't wanna hear it anymore”, “You ain't all that and a bag of potato chips”, “Don't go there, girlfriend!” (while snapping fingers and moving head back and forth with attitude).
Music plays an important part in all the Austin Powers movies. I loved the inclusion of The Monkees' “I'm A Believer” as this franchise emulates the psychedelic format of their classic 1960's television series, and the musical interlude featuring Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach performing "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" was inspired.
Mike Myer's is a very talented man and he incorporates many different comedic influences into his shtick. The conversation between Austin and Will Ferrell's Mustafa seems downright Pythonesque, and, like Bob Hope, he often breaks down the fourth wall to comment directly to the audience about certain ridiculous aspects of the story. For example, when he makes the observation, “You know what's remarkable? Is how much England looks in no way like Southern California.”
A running gag used in all the Austin Powers movies are the many sexually suggestive names he comes up with for various female characters. Here's one of my favorites. Robin: “My name is Robin Swallows.” Austin: “Swallows - that's an interesting name.” Robin: “Maiden name's Spitz.” (Wait for it!) Austin: “Which is it baby, Spitz or Swallows?”
To me the weakest character in the move is Fat Bastard. Like Goldmember in the next movie, he is just too gross to be funny, and with Myer's already pulling double duty, adding another role for him is overkill. Nevertheless, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is Mike Myers at the peak of his considerable comic talents. I'm curious to see what he comes up with for the fourth movie now that ten years have passed since he last played the groovy super spy.
Photos © Copyright New Line Cinema (1999)