Austin Powers:International Man of Mystery (15)

Directed by Jay Roach
Starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York

Mike Myers latest comic creation is a super spy in the James Bond mould, but this spy is a real product of the swinging 60s. Austin Powers is a gap toothed, self-styled groovy dude. His arch enemy is Dr Evil- also played by Myers. After a brief opening set in the London in the 60s, both Powers and Dr Evil are cryogenically frozen. Whizz forward to 1997 and Dr Evil is back on the scene so Austin Powers is also defrosted to save the world once again. He is aided by Liz Hurley as the daughter of his Mrs Peel style 60s partner.
Most of the gags are derived from the differences in style, attitude and language between Powers and the rest of the world in the 1990s as Myers sends up the 60s spy genre. The film relies very much on Myers' charm and goofy grin, and like Wayne's World before it, is clever at times and terribly corny at others. Also like Wayne's World, it feels like an elongated sketch from a comedy show. Austin Powers is a funny character, but I got a bit tired of him after a while. I enjoyed Dr Evil more I think! My favourite scene in the film was when Dr Evil's son, bred from his frozen sperm and grown up into a slacker brat, go to a father and son family therapy session led by Carrie Fisher. Very funny, and Dr Evil is a hoot.
The supporting actors are fine, Michael York and Robert Wagner must be glad of the film work, and Liz Hurley looks good if nothing else. She is as wooden as ever but as this is very firmly Mike Myers show, it barely matters. The script, by Myers is funny for the most part, but has the usual quota of Myers' toilet and schoolboy humour.
The 60s have become a trendy time again, and for about an hour, this film is a lot of fun. Myers loves his quotable lines. Who can forget the classic 'schwiiing!!', or '..NOT!'. Yet again we have many bits of dialogue designed to be annoyingly memorable. There is also a snappy theme tune. Giggles rather than real laughs, with brief flashes of good physical comedy. For me the joke just got a bit tired. 6/10

September 1997

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