Director: Jay Roach
Writers: Mike Myers & Michael McCullers
Stars: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Rob Lowe, Seth Green, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Elizabeth Hurley
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Now for the Moonraker of the Austin Powers trilogy.
We continue our spooftastic detour in our series of James Bond reviews with Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The second entry in the trilogy is considered a big disappointment by many, but not by me. The film opens with a scene that manages to make absolutely no sense in every single way. It’s brilliant! The reveal of Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley) being a fembot really doesn’t make sense with any logic but fits perfectly with the Austin Powers style. It also includes my favourite piece of acting of all time as Austin Powers (Mike Myers) slowly gets out of bed, uttering “I’m gonna go watch a mooovie.” It’s amazing. This sequence also allows Austin to return to his swinging ways which is hilariously shown off in the opening credits. It takes the nude gags from the first film and I think improves upon it with a more exciting and highly choreographed dance sequence full of visual innuendo. Powers doesn’t have much time to have fun however, as Dr Evil (Mike Myers) has returned to take over the world once again. This time by jumping the shark every chance he can in spectacular fashion, most notably with a time machine, an tiny evil clone (Mini Me) and a Moon base.
The film continues to spoof classic Bond-fare in hysterical fashion but also extends its own lore. The film introduces two of the series’ best characters in Mini Me (Verne Troyer) and Fat Bastard (Mike Myers). As classic Bond henchmen were, these two supporting villains are excitingly quirky and put to use perfectly. Mini Me is essentially a little rottweiler with a real hatred for Scott Evil (Seth Green). Fat Bastard is just a real fat Scottish guy. These two characters may be quite offensive to a large amount of people but I don’t care, they’re hilarious. The fat suit used for Fat Bastard is actually quite impressive though. It looks impressively real and Myers’ commitment to the outrageous role is commendable. The film’s villainous plot is something truly out of this world dumb, as is necessary. Dr Evil uses Fat Bastard to go back in time to the 60s and steal Austin Power’s mojo. His libido, his right stuff, what the French call a certain… I don’t know what. The removal of Austin’s mojo does have an interesting affect on him as he has a struggle with sexual confidence in the second half of the film. Luckily, it doesn’t get in the way too much though.
Speaking of sexual confidence, the Powers’ girl, Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham), is absolutely shaggadelic. All three Austin Powers films had absolutely gorgeous love interests, this being my favourite. All three also have aged impressively well, thinking about it. Elizabeth Hurley, Heather Graham and Beyonce do all still look shaggadelic. Shagwell also actually serves as a very good character in the film, with her 60s sensibilities and her spy expertise all being wonderful to watch on top of the fact that she looks like Heather Graham. I mean, Heather Graham literally looks not a day older now than she did here. No exaggeration needed.
Damn… Sorry, what was I talking about? The decision to travel through time back to the 60s in this film is absolutely brilliant. It adds an aesthetic to the film that is just great to watch. The soundtrack is groovy and the style is even better. This film manages to stand on its own as a comedy gem surprisingly well. It does recycle some gags from the first film but it does have plenty of new ideas and twists. The shadows thing in the tent on Dr Evil’s island is so insanely funny. The penis spaceship is even funnier. Despite this, the film does also do a lot of spoofing.
The film does narrow its range of Bond films that it parodies but increases the power of it. While the first film parodied almost all of Connery’s Bond films, this time it only really spoofs You Only Live Twice, with the addition of Roger Moore’s Moonraker. It makes fun of these films in beautiful fashion as the Blofeld copy finally has the Blofeld lair to go with him. I think the best example of spoofing would be the quick afternoon trip to the frickin’ Moon taken from Moonraker. It’s a ridiculous Bond film and they joke with it so very well. The film also has a good amount of action. The fight between Austin and Mini Me is not only a piece of comedic perfection, but an exciting fight on its own, as is the final shootout. Obviously this isn’t the main attraction but it’s done well. The reason why this film is so great is simply because of its wall-to-wall laughs. The film is just so funny, all of the time.
Summary: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is a more focused spoof, albeit a less focused film, as the comedy gets even more ridiculous and dumb in ways that somehow only make the film better. I think people need to re-evaluate their ideas of this film as it’s one of the best comedy sequels ever and my personal favourite funny film.
Best Performance: Mike Myers
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%