Fans of the James Bond films will have a blast looking for all of the allusions to the old Bond films and trying to determine which Bond film is being spoofed at any given time, but it's important to keep in mind that the film pokes fun at the Bond series in good taste. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is never disrespectful to the films that it makes fun of, which is probably the single most important thing about a spoof film that makes it good. This is why the Scary Movies, as just a couple of examples, were such dismal, hideous failures. They try to be funny by viciously making fun of all kinds of movies, and end up looking stupid because they have such a nonexistent right to do that. You can't make a stupid, stupid movie and make fun of a lot of great movies (and some not so great, admittedly) and try to pretend to be respectable at the end of it all. That's the recipe for a crapfest.
While it's true that a lot of the comedy in the first Austin Powers film is slapstick and obviously contrived, I think it should be a testament to the quality of the film that it is still so funny! We see all of the traditional Bond clichés in this movie, such as the usual one-liners (which are made fun of extensively and with spectacular effect here), the fancy cars, the goofy cockiness, the teeth-grinding theme song, and the occasionally inexplicable popularity with the women (this allusion makes most sense when compared to those Bond films that starred Roger Moore).
The plot involves a rivalry between Dr. Evil, an evil mastermind bent on world domination, and Austin Powers, a mockish caricature of James Bond, bent on stopping Dr. Evil's world domination schemes. Meyers portrays both characters with hilarious skill, making Austin an awkward womanizer with some serious dental problems, and Dr. Evil an evil schemer with a hilarious cutesy side. Neither character really seems like they belong in the role that they serve (as a spy and a doctor of evil), which is where a lot of the comedy comes in. There is also, of course the fact that they both spend most of the movie 30 years in their future, completely out of touch with the new world that they live in.
This is not a movie to be taken seriously, and quite frankly, I can't understand all of these reviews that I've read on the IMDb that are constantly complaining that Austin Powers is so cheesy or so childish. I've heard this same complaint about lots of other movies that are also not meant to be taken seriously, but this one is especially confusing. I trust that all you people complaining about how childish Austin Powers is realize that it is a spoof based on a whole series of movies that are also not meant to be taken seriously, right? I mean, that would be a hell of an oversight to miss that little detail. Austin Powers is one of the most refreshing comedies to come along in years, and it's sad that there are so many people who completely missed the boat on this one just because they pretend that the movie is something that it's not and was never meant to be. It's true that the movie is immensely immature and that it has unfortunately little re-watch value (one of the biggest problems with the film), but the quality of the comedy is unmistakable.