Austin Powers 2: |
The Spy Who Shagged Me
directed by M. Jay Roach
New Line Cinemas, 1999
Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me SHOULD have been titled Austin Powers 2: The Marketing Blitz More Obnoxious than Star Wars. While Jar Jar was annoying, I feel sharp jabs of pain when I hear the words "Groovy, baby!" In fact, it is hurting me to type this now.
Mike Myers reprises his role as the secret agent spoof Austin Powers and his arch-nemesis Dr. Evil. He also pulls double time as the evil henchman Fat Bastard and as ... well ... Austin Powers. Heather Graham plays Felicity Shagwell, the American CIA agent sent to help Austin (and of course, to take over Elizabeth Hurley's role as the love interest), plus multiple cameo appearances. Some of the better appearances are Robert Wagner and Rob Lowe as Number 1 and Michael York as Austin's boss (someone has to bring a little class to this).
Here's the plot in a halfshell -- Dr. Evil decides that the reason Austin Powers always wins is because of his "mojo," so he concocts a plan to travel back in time to steal it while he's frozen. Powers discovers this, and travels back in time to stop him. This of course leads us to the humorous scene where Michael York attempts to explain away the paradox of time travel. Back in 1969, Austin meets Felicity Shagwell, and off they go to stop the bad guys in pure tongue-in-cheek manner.
This movie not only lampoons everything held dear in the James Bond films, but manages to allow Myers the ability to ad-lib segments. (He produced it, so he could.) For example, in one scene, Fat Bastard starts singing the Chili's commercial song, "I want my baby back," which he admitted to hearing on the radio before filming the scene that day. Fortunately, this movie did away with a reprise of the urination scene from the first movie. Unfortunately, they replace it with a long string of penis jokes.
The movie is amusing -- and at times quite hilarious. It's the little things that catch up to you to make you realize that it's not what the hype cracked it up to be. The character of Austin Powers is a one-trick pony that gets beaten to death. He has his mojo taken from him, goes back in time, and commences to acting like NOTHING WRONG happened. Supposedly, his mojo is his sexual drive, yet as soon as he hits 1969, he starts hitting on the chicks, wanting to "shag" and so forth. It became a plot point which just hung in the air, and every now and then the writer's realized "Hey! We gotta say something about it!"
Heather Graham comes across as an over-sexed 15-year-old, rather than a competent CIA agent. What Austin Powers needs to work is a straight character (which Elizabeth Hurley played perfectly in the first movie), not a female version of himself. They spend the entire movie trying to outdo each other in sexual innuendo and outlandishness. By the time they finally make it into bed, do we really care?
And the "Cameo Which Makes NO Sense Whatsoever!" award goes to Woody Harrelson, who is approached by a fan in the aforementioned Penis Joke bit (for obvious reasons) -- only it happens in 1969!!!!
The gem of this movie is Myer's portrayal of Dr. Evil and his interactions. We get to see Dr. Evil confront his son on Jerry Springer, resulting in the usual brawl, asking a very JFKish Tony Robbins for $100 billion dollars (even though in 1969 that kind of money doesn't exist), and interacting with "Mini Me" (by the way, Mini Me's on-screen importance is not as vital as you would think watching the commercials). Seth Green, as Scott Evil, once again voices the crowd as the detractor to Dr. Evil's plans and turns in a great performance. Plus, the Star Wars gags were perfectly timed.
I would have preferred much more time spent with the Dr. Evil storyline than Austin Powers -- the jokes were more varied and material much better. If you enjoyed the first movie, I would recommend seeing this one. For those who haven't seen it, wait 'til it comes to the cheap theaters and see it when you have nothing else to do on a Saturday. And don't be afraid to slug the first teenager who asks you if you like to shag. They deserve it.
[ by Timothy Keene ]