Archives for posts with tag: Austin Powers

Unpredictability is a key element of humor. Part of the problem with comedy sequels is that you know most of the jokes already. “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999) is like listening to a greatest hits album. It’s well crafted and true to the first installment of the spy-sendup franchise, but that’s also the problem. You want some new stuff, too. And that’s another problem. Heather Graham is great as Austin’s American counterpart but the Fat Bastard and Mini Me characters are so creepy and get so many scenes, it makes the whole thing predictable AND kinda gross.

Even though, it’s called “Shag” (1989) it’s not some kind of Austin Powers prequel. Instead, it’s a celebration of white privilege and unlawful sexual conduct in 1960s South Carolina. It tries to capture the vibe of a 1960s teenybopper flick. It achieves the goal in that it’s just as awful as they were. There’s implausible whirlwind romance, dopey characters, lousy dialogue and the inevitably climactic dance contest. I suspect Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda and Annabeth Gish sometimes gather in the woods late at night to sip wine and burn VHS copies of this film. Maybe they shag around the bonfire.

Mike Myers hasn’t made a bunch of great movies, but he has struck gold a handful of times. “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997) is an example of Myers at his best. His genius is attention to comic detail, so having screenwriter Myers star as a swinging ’60s Brit in a send-up of James Bond movies guaranteed it that would be crammed full of big jokes and little jokes (and witty asides to reward the initiated). It’s almost too detailed. The Roger Moore-era Bond films were a little hokey, plotwise. Myers seems to be mostly playing off that vibe.