Mystery Men (1999) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for comic action violence and crude humor
Running Time: 121 min.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Geoffrey Rush
Director: Kinka Usher
Screenplay: Neil Cuthbert (based on the comic series by Bob Burden)
Review published January 21, 2000
In a city of comical superheroes, its most prominent, Captain Amazing (Kinnear, As Good As It Gets), gets captured by its most feared villain, Casanova Frankenstein (Rush, Elizabeth). A fledgling crew of ineptitude band together to save the city from Casanova's plans of domination.
The onscreen fledgling crew of ineptitude is nothing in comparison to that behind the camera. While sporting an impressive cast of competent actors and a blank check of a budget to spend on sets and special effects, first-time director Kinka Usher and screenwriter Neil Cuthbert (The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Hocus Pocus) seem to do everything they can to make Mystery Men the most painfully unfunny and unoriginal comic book flick done since Batman and Robin.
With only the idea that comic book heroes have home lives and feelings of inadequacy like everyone else, this one note movie beats that them like a drum with such a lack of wit that it's astonishing that these credible actors would find the rather talky (for a comic book) story worthy of their efforts. The film also suffers from being tediously overlong, clocking in at over two hours, and considering most people will lose interest after about ten minutes, it all adds up to the longest two hours imaginable sitting in a chair.
All the cutesy comic characters and directorial masturbatory tricks in the world can't save this bland half-baked travesty. The only mystery in this movie is why it was ever made to begin with.
©2000 Vince Leo