Movie #94: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Director: Jay Roach

Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Faviana Udenio, and Will Ferrell

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“Au contraire baby, you can’t resist me.”

1967, Dr. Evil (Myers) goes into a cryogenic freeze to escape his arch nemesis and British Secret Agent Austin Powers (also Myers) hoping to return later and fulfill his plans for world domination.  Powers also goes into a cryogenic freeze to be thawed once Dr. Evil returns.  Fast forward to 1997 in a world that is nothing like the one from 30 years ago.  Powers, with the help of Vanessa Kensington (Hurley), the daughter of his former partner Mrs. Kensington (Rogers), acclimates to the 90s where free love and widespread drug use are no longer the norm.

Although I had decided to review films that have won Best Picture Academy Awards, I just needed something light-hearted where I could more or less shut my brain off, hence watching and reviewing Austin Powers.  This film was moderately successful in its theatrical release, and only gained a widespread cult following after it had been released on home video.

Short, sweet, impactful, and to the point, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery does a wonderful job of giving the audience member a hilarious release from reality while poking fun at spy movies.

Oh who am I kidding?  This movie is full of great one-liners, many from Powers, and it’s just fun.  It’s been years since I had seen it, but it’s funny enough to remain entertaining.  I’ve seen this one and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and I just feel like from this to that one it was beginning to become more formulaic and Goldmember just seemed like it was taking that further and had become tedious.   This film does great at being unapologetic and irreverent with its humor, and at the same time not going far enough to alienate major demographics.  While I wouldn’t recommend this for younger audience, the humor still has wide-ranging potential with audiences.

This film was released in a time when Mike Myers was still funny and hadn’t gotten stale, boring and predictable.  Like a few other comedic actors in the 90s (Adam Sandler, David Spade, etc.), Myers was still funny, and he does a great job in this film as both the hero and the villain.

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This whole movie is just fun.  Dr. Evil pokes fun at the classic spy villains in an over-the-top way that’s funny without being annoying.  The addition of Mini Me in the second film was funny, but again, I feel like it probably became tedious and boring by Goldmember.  That’s merely my speculation though since I hadn’t seen, and probably won’t see, the movie.

austinpowersferrell austinpowerselizabethhurleyThis was one of the first films for both Will Ferrell and Elizabeth Hurley.  Ferrell had made a name for himself on Saturday Night Live, and Hurley was both a model and at the time was High Grant’s girlfriend.  Vanessa Kensington is probably Hurley’s most famous film role, and she complements Myers 60s mentality as the quintessential 90s woman (until she has too much wine and falls for Powers of course).  Despite his limited screen time Ferrell’s performance is one of the most memorable and hilarious in the film.

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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is entertaining, funny, and enjoyable.  Mike Myers was still relevant, and does a great job as the charismatic over-the-top Austin Powers and Dr. Evil and complements a great supporting cast.  The humor may be more juvenile, but it’s fun as a comedic release.  I do recommend it, it’s funny and hilarious.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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