Austin Powers : The Spy Who Shagged Me
Out there, somewhere, two film buffs are having an argument. They are getting quite frustrated with each other and in just a few more moments one is going to express his disagreement with the other through physical contact. What are they arguing about? Why, the topics of great films and their sequels of course. There are few sequels out there that are actually better than their predecessors, my personal list would be, Godfather Part 2, The Empire Strikes Back and (after last night) Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. WHAT? Yes I know, not all will agree with me, but Austin 2 is a joy, wonderfully building on what worked so well in the first film and making funnier.
Three years ago Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery burst onto the comedy scene. It was a massive hit, giving us something fresh and groovy at a time when comedy was almost officially dead. Austin's political incorrect attitude towards women and sex that said "Lets shag baby, Yeah!", something that people wanted to say for a long time but were afraid of the PC handbags. Mike Myers not only created Austin as a strike back at PC 90s' but he also was the brain child of one of cinemas' greatest spoof evil villains "Dr. Evil". Dr Evil somehow managed to capture more peoples' love than Austin Powers. What is so appealing about him? Maybe it was his inability to "get with" the 90s' way of things or maybe it was the brilliant relationship between him and his troublesome teenage son ("Why don't you just shoot him, Dad?" asks Scott, "I've got a whole bag of "SSSHHH"'s with you name on it Scott"...Brilliant)
The thing about Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery was that because it was such a breath of fresh air the film was never sure in itself that it would work. As a result the film held back from been too crazy and was tame at times. Now, the thing about Austin Powers : The Spy Who Shagged Me is that this time they know people will get this sense of humour and it pulls all the stops. Austin 2 is so sure of itself it almost completely throws the story away to concentrate on the comedy, and it works, fantastically.
This new film does just enough to keep the film fresh, even though you will recognise a couple of gags from the original, there are a few more characters to fall in love with. Felicity Shagwell may not work as well with Austin as Liz Hurley did in the original but Heather Graham certainly is one of the most "shagdelic" babes you will see in the cinema this year. The wonderful unsuspected success of the film is Dr. Evils' clone Mini-Me, this dwarf-sized gag that is so cute, yet so nasty. Mini-Me provides some of the films biggest laughs from the bizarre fight scene with Austin to the long lasting image of the pint-sized one shagging a giant laser (you really have to see it to get it). I'm glad Mini-Me is there he does more for this film than you might realise, reaching the loving side Dr. Evil and igniting jealous sibling rivalry in his "sort of" brother Scott. A joy.
The film also has the usual decoration of henchmen. Rob Lowe does a great job as the young No.2, startlingly resembling his older self, Robert Wagner. (P.O.I. There was an excellent scene in the script where Rob Lowe and Robert Wagner are caught in bed together, but was cut from the film... It could have been good) There also is another new character, Fat Bastard (also played by Myers, not Billy Connelly), a massive being that can be best described as disgusting. You would think this guy would be funnier, but sadly the laughs were not as big as his physical size.
And what of the main guys Powers and Evil. Its not that strange that Dr. Evil gets more screen time than Powers. Dr. Evil is a truly 3 dimensional character, he doesn't just laugh and scheme, he has to deal with a family, he gets embarrassed, he acts awkwardly around Fau Raubensaw the next morning after their night of passion. Evil is complex and hilarious there would be no Austin Powers without him.
As for Austin he never really grew beyond the first film, in fact it is this lack of growth that will end the Austin Powers franchise in a film or two. Something new must happen. In Austin 1 he had a few dilemmas', how was he to adjust to nineties environment?, no more reckless shagging, no more sexiest comments against women. What would he do? Here he just does Austin again, he has lost his "mojo" but still parties, has loads of beauties draped over him and has an odd photo shoot. That's all that happens to him.
I've been watching the talent of Mike Myers form the days of Waynes World back in the early nineties. The guy has a talent that I know will expand and grow. He has an essential gift that all great comedians need, an acute understanding of society. They know what people need to hear. Myers knew it when he created Wayne and Garth, he knows it Austin Powers and Dr. Evil.
Austin Powers : The Spy Who Shagged Me is the funniest film I have seen this year. See it.