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With: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Rob Lowe, Seth Green, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Elizabeth Hurley
Written by: Mike Myers, Michael McCullers
Directed by: Jay Roach
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual innuendo and crude humor
Running Time: 95
Date: 06/08/1999

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

All of us who loved Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) nolonger have to worry. The new movie, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,doesn't suck. Indeed, it's shaggadelic.

The movie starts out with a Shirley Bassey-soundalike singing a Goldfinger-esque song about Dr. Evil. Then a Star Wars-like crawl tells us what's been going on with Austin since we left him two years ago. He's been on his honeymoon shagging Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley), who turns out to be an evil fem-bot with "machine gun jubblies." Then Austin does a whole dance routine completely naked, without ever showing a naughty bit. That's all in the first couple of minutes and the movie had me. I was howling.

Mike Myers co-wrote the screenplay and stars as Austin Powers. He also stars as Dr. Evil and as a new character, a fat Scotsman in a kilt called Fat Bastard, a lackey for Dr. Evil. The movie is allegedly based on the James Bond movies and all their ripoffs, but Austin Powers has little to do with Bond. The reason it works is that Myers' id runs mad for the whole length of the movie. He's like one of those guys who goes to a party and has everyone in stitches over a story he's told. But it's not the story itself that matters. It's the way it's told, and the devices one uses to tell it. Austin Powers is equally as funny as the Wayne's World movies for the same reasons. I have a hunch Myers could make a movie about the McCarthy Blacklist era and make it hilarious. Robin Williams and Jim Carrey may be good actors and be physically brilliant comics, but Myers is just plain funny.

So the story of Austin Powers is this: Dr. Evil returns and has a clone made of himself. The clone comes out 1/8 of his size, and is so named Mini-Me (Vern Troyer). Scott Evil (Seth Green also of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is back trying ineffectually to get in good with his evil dad. Dr. Evil's plan is to travel back in time to 1969, steal Austin Powers' mojo (his life force -- the thing that makes him so good at shagging), plant a laser beam on the moon, and destroy all of Earth's major cities. Meanwhile, Austin follows (in a time machine constructed from a new Volkswagen Bug), meets 60's superspy Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) and teams up with her to get his mojo back and defeat Dr. Evil.

But like I said, none of this matters. Myers and his characters continually point out the absurdities in the plot, including the time travel theme. Austin wonders how he can travel to 1969 when he is frozen in a cryogenic chamber during that year. He then tells the audience not to worry too much about it and to just enjoy. When a bad joke slips by, Myers takes a second to shrug it off or give us an apologetic look.

Another thing I like about the Austin Powers movies is the way they destroy society's rules and mores. Sex becomes a good thing, and we're allowed to admire Felicity Shagwell's gorgeous body as we are allowed to laugh at Fat Bastard. Even the movie's characters are not above inflicting horrible cruelty upon each other.

I'm dying to tell you about all the great scenes and funny cameos that had me busting a gut, but I'll make it just one -- Dr. Evil and Mini-Me doing a rap-dance to "Just the Two of Us." I will also warn you to stay to the end of the closing credits for more laughs. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is that rare kind of summer movie: a sure thing.

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