Like a groovy 1960s concept album with only one or two disappointing tracks, "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" is a gas for those in the same goofy state of mind as writer/co-star Mike Myers. The former "Saturday Night Live" regular's fourth film takes aim at perhaps too broad a demographic spectrum -- with crude physical humor and English-style satire vying for laughs -- but there's enough craziness and great gags to overcome its shortcomings.
A frequently hilarious spoof of British spy movies and the sexual revolution, with Myers playing both hero and villain, the New Line Cinema release is an underdog needing "shagedelic" word-of-mouth to break out. Myers is in top form as a randy Mod spy reawakened after 30 years in the present day, and Elizabeth Hurley ("Dangerous Ground") is delightful in her best role, promising potent international business and a strong video release for director Jay Roach's feature debut.
Myers' screenplay is a gem, starting with the musical-like opening that introduces gawky, dentally impaired Austin Powers (Myers), an effusive lover of women, all of whom he enthusiastically calls "baby." It's 1967 England and, decked out in bell bottoms and horn-rimmed glasses, Powers is a fashion photographer and top agent partnered with voluptuous, leather-clad Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers).
Myers also plays the pale, bald, cat-loving Dr. Evil. In the prologue, Evil fails to assassinate Powers and escapes by cryogenically freezing and launching himself into space via a rocket disguised as a giant Bob's Big Boy statue. Powers agrees to be frozen for the day when Evil returns, and he's revived three decades later and teamed with sultry Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), the daughter of his now-retired comrade.
The film has a seemingly endless storehouse of jokes about the Ian Fleming-like milieu -- from the heroes' droll superior, Basil Exposition (Michael York), to Evil's sexpot companion, Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio), whose name makes everyone giggle. Cars, clothes, language, history, inflation, sex, crime -- Powers and Evil have a lot of catching up to do, and there are many priceless moments.
Contributing to the peppy pacing are several short interludes that are dead ringers for '60s pop-music television shows, with Powers fronting a band and playing the teen idol. While cockeyed Evil learns that $1 million is too little a ransom to demand for not destroying the world and gets to know his airhead son (Seth Green), cloned by his allies in his absence, Powers learns through Vanessa that "shagging" all the time with many partners and without protection is now irresponsible.
A big "far out, man" to the filmmakers, including production designer Cynthia Charette, costume designer Deena Appel and cinematographer Peter Deming ("Lost Highway"). The soundtrack is also a winner, with great tunes including Susanna Hoffs' version of "The Look of Love" and "BBC" by Ming Tea.
INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY
New Line Cinema
in association with Capella International/KC Medien
A Moving Pictures/Eric's Boy production
Director Jay Roach
Writer Mike Myers
Producers Suzanne Todd, Demi Moore,
Jennifer Todd, Mike Myers
Executive producers Eric McLeod,
Director of photography Peter Deming
Production designer Cynthia Charette
Editor Debra Neil-Fisher
Costume designer Deena Appel
Music George S. Clinton
Casting John Papsidera
Austin Powers/Dr. Evil Mike Myers
Vanessa Kensington Elizabeth Hurley
Basil Exposition Michael York
Mrs. Kensington Mimi Rogers
Number Two Robert Wagner
Running time -- 88 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
Similar News ItemsDemi Moore
- Janelle Monae to Lead Charlie's Angels Reboot in 2019? (From MovieWeb. 23 May 2017, 4:04 PM, PDT)
- Eric Stoltz's 'Class Rank' starring Bruce Dern, Kristin Chenoweth acquired by Foresight (From ScreenDaily. 21 May 2017, 11:00 PM, PDT)
- Maggie Q thriller 'Slumber' scores Us deal (From ScreenDaily. 18 May 2017, 11:00 PM, PDT)
Carrie Fisher (I)
- John Boyega says Finn is a “big deal” in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (From Flickeringmyth. 24 May 2017, 4:01 AM, PDT)
- Carrie Fisher Graces ‘Vanity Fair’ Cover in Honor of ‘Stars Wars’ 40th Anniversary (From Entertainment Tonight. 23 May 2017, 1:50 PM, PDT)
- Carrie Fisher Transforms into Princess Leia for Her Final Film The Last Jedi: See a New Photo of the Late Icon (From PEOPLE.com. 23 May 2017, 12:51 PM, PDT)
Seth Green (I)
- The Grinch: first pic from new CG reboot (From Den of Geek. 23 May 2017, 9:54 PM, PDT)
- Family Guy: Season 14 Ratings (From TVSeriesFinale. 8 May 2017, 8:11 PM, PDT)
- Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) (From Flickeringmyth. 5 May 2017, 1:50 PM, PDT)