Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) / Comedy-Adventure

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual innuendo and crude humor
Running Time: 95 min.

Cast: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Rob Lowe, Seth Green
Director: Jay Roach
Screenplay: Mike Myers, Michael McCullers
Review published April 22, 2002

Funnier and more cohesive than the first outing, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, it also suffers from the same weaknesses. Lots of bathroom humor, penis and breast jokes, and playing around with popular culture, some of it very funny and some of it woefully misguided. Myers and Roach seem to enjoy the Benny Hill-style sight gags more than they do the plot since they wait until the film is almost halfway over before introducing one. But does anyone watch Austin Powers for the plot? I think not.

Here's the plot anyway: Austin (Myers, 54) goes on his honeymoon only to discover his newlywed wife is really a fembot created by his arch nemesis, Dr. Evil. Soon after, Dr. Evil returns after being thought banished forever in space, and has a master plan to exact revenge on Powers by traveling back 30 years in a time machine and stealing Austin's "mojo". Austin is also sent back, teaming up with another agent Felicity Shagwell (Graham, Lost in Space), in order to stop Dr. Evil's plan for world domination using a laser cannon on the moon to wreak massive destruction.

Laughter is the key to the success or failure of the film, and Shagged certainly delivers a number of genuine belly laughs. It also delivers some prolonged "dry periods" where jokes fizzle repeatedly, and sometimes unfunny sections of the film drag on mercilessly for minutes. This "kitchen sink" approach to films seems contradictory. It's as if they said to themselves, "Everyone has a different sense of humor so let's try every style and try to make everyone laugh." This works to a certain extent, but it also backfires in that there will be many jokes that a typical viewer will not find funny causing a certain unevenness.

When all is said and done, how much you like this sequel will depend on how much you liked the first film. If you loved the first film, you may have a hard time enjoying the second film as much since the focus has shifted from Austin to Dr. Evil and his henchmen, as if Myers had exhausted all his material for Austin. If you thought the first film was mediocre due to poor plotting and a half-baked script, you'll most likely enjoy this second installment since the overall schemes are fuller and more fleshed out. Of course if you abhor the first film, by all means stay away from this one, as the jokes are cruder, the characters more obnoxious and the level of humor sinks to lows the first film only hinted at.

-- Followed by Austin Powers in Goldmember

 Qwipster's rating:

2002 Vince Leo