A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 286 – Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me – December 11th, 2010

I am going to admit up front right now, this is going to be a short review. I have had a doozy of a day. While no one rammed a car into the library, and our performer showed up (on time, even), and we didn’t have to call 911 or close early due to a major utility failure (and yes, all of those things are things we have dealt with on a Saturday) it was nevertheless a day full of little crises and disasters. And by about 2pm I was ready to throw myself on the floor like the toddlers all over the room and have myself a temper tantrum. And then, in my hurry to close up before more people came in after closing I left my purse there. So, yes. It’s been a day. And it was nice to have my movie all picked out and ready for me, but writing a review? Eh.

Fortunately, this is a movie that makes me laugh, so that’s a plus. I can’t imagine watching something like Punch Drunk Love after a day like today. I’d be a dangerous woman afterwards. But this is not that. Sure, it’s got things I’m not fond of. Fat Bastard in particular. Fat suit gags just aren’t that funny to me, and that’s pretty much 80% of what the character is. There’s the Scottish stuff too, but Myers could have picked any nationality to abuse for the character really. He’d still be a fat suit gag. And he takes up a lot of time and plot space in the movie. I just sort of laugh around him. Fortunately there’s a lot of other stuff to laugh at.

Austin’s still thoroughly inappropriate, but I’ve got to say, I like him more in this movie than the first one, largely, I think, because of the dynamic between him and his new sidekick, Felicity. Having gotten rid of Vanessa right at the beginning we’ve got a female lead position to fill. Now, I could get annoyed about this, but I won’t. And you know why? Because while I liked Vanessa and her Emma Peelishness, I like the dynamic between Felicity and Austin better. It’s not that they have better chemistry, it’s that I don’t feel like Austin is constantly sexually harassing her. She’s interested in him. She makes the first move. So it all ends up feeling like flirtation (and more) instead of unwanted advances. So I spent the movie chuckling at them instead of rolling my eyes.

The plot in this movie is a little on the convoluted side, but we’re entreated by the characters themselves to just enjoy it and not over-think it. I can do that, and I liked the little bit of fourth wall breaking that it entailed. It’s a time travel plot, after all, with Austin going back to 1969 to deal with Dr. Evil, who’s also traveled back to 1969. It’s ridiculous and silly and fun and lets the cast make more jokes about the characters not realizing what decade they’re in. And it allows for one of my favorite performances in the movie, which is Rob Lowe doing his Robert Wagner impersonation as a young Number 2. He is perfect and it’s hilarious to watch him even in the background of scenes he’s in because he’s always doing something to communicate that he is Robert Wagner (who himself will always be Alexander Mundy to me).

I still love Seth Green as Scott Evil, and he gets a lot to do in this movie, from an appearance on an episode of the Jerry Springer show to his constant bickering with Dr. Evil’s new 1/8th scale clone, Mini Me. Now, Mini Me is fantastic. Verne Troyer does a fantastic job with him, playing him so adorably evil it’s unbelievable. He smiles and looks all charming as he passes a note to Scott that says he’s going to kill him. It’s a great performance and a bizarre character.

Okay, so this got longer than I meant it to. I guess I enjoyed it enough that I had things to say about it. It’s still full of off-color jokes and offensive crap. It’s still got stuff that falls utterly flat to me. But it’s also got some fantastic performances and lines. I’d say that the first movie has a handful of super memorable bits but the movie overall isn’t as consistently funny as this one. I laughed more frequently, if not as hard. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s movie now. If only we were awake enough to watch it tonight.

December 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

December 11, 2010

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

It may seem odd (Amanda certainly found it to be so) but although I have seen the first and third movies in this trilogy numerous times I have never before tonight watched the second one all the way through. I’ve seen bits of it here and there, but there are huge swaths of the movie that I’ve never seen. So when we started this project and made a list of some of the movies missing from our collection this was one of the first movies we bought off that list. Both so we’d have the whole set and so that I’d finally be able to see the movie.

I found myself laughing an awful lot while watching this tonight. Meyers and director Jay Roach do a great job of establishing what exactly makes up an Austin Powers movie as they refine the formula. Mike gets a new role to play – the make-up intensive Fat Bastard, who is sort of a bloated evil re-do of Meyer’s character Stuart from So I Married and Axe Murderer. Some riffs that they enjoyed from the first movie return for the second, such as Dr. Evil telling Scott to shut up. They also found a fun way to make Austin’s womanising ways less irritating – they have Dr. Evil steal his mojo, and they have his primary love interest as rude and brash as he is.

I didn’t even bother doing a plot summary yesterday because the plots for these movies are just a framework to hang all the gags, slapstick, bad puns and character interactions on. Today the plot involves Dr. Evil going into the past to steal Austin’s mojo, thus rendering him literally and figuratively impotent. Dr. Evil’s plot for world domination, meanwhile, involves a giant “laser” on the moon which will be used to vaporize major cities on Earth unless a hefty ransom is paid. Really it hardly matters what the nefarious scheme is, though. These movies are all about the laughs, and about Mike Meyers capering madly in a variety of different roles. Indeed in an inspired bit of fourth wall breaking Basil Exposition advises Austin not to try and think too hard about the logic of his time travel and to just enjoy the ride – then he turns to the camera and says “That goes for you as well.”

New to the franchise in this iteration are Fat Bastard, a fantastic performance by Rob Lowe as Young Number Two (his Robert Wagner impersonation is dead on and fantastic to watch) and of course Verne Troyer as Mini-Me. Much as I love both Fat Bastard and Number Two it is Mini-Me that really steals the show. Verne has great comedic sensibilities and in spite of not having a single line in the movie manages to dominate every scene he’s in. The character of Mini-Me is great to start with – he’s so apologetically and unnecessarily evil. Given to petty nastiness which is quickly forgiven because he’s just so cute. In particular he’s a great foil for Seth Green’s character Scott as the two of them are rivals for Dr. Evil’s affection – something which is played up to great effect in the third movie.

In the spirit of continuing to spoof the Bond films, and to keep things fresh I suppose, the film makers quickly do away with Austin’s love interest from the first movie so that he can have fresh arm-candy. This time around it is Heather Graham as Felicity Shagwell (“Shagwell by name shag-very-well by reputation.”) It’s fun to see Austin Powers paired with a woman who gives as well as she gets – even more fun when he’s self conscious because of his lost mojo and she continues to come on strong. It alleviates almost all of the bits in the first movie that I found awkward and grating.

It was great to finally see this movie all the way through. It’s a loopy, self-referential, insane project that doesn’t care about anything except making you laugh. And it’s got a Buckaroo Banzai reference in it – which instantly raises it up several notches in my estimation. Both Amanda and I are tempted to just put the third movie in right now and watch it before falling asleep.

December 11, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , , | Leave a comment