A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

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 | , , , , , ,

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