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AUSTIN POWERS:
THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME

Review by Andrew Manning (6/99)

Release: 1999, New Line
Starring: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Robert Wagner, Gia Carides, Seth Green, Cindy Margolis, Kristen Johnston, Rob Lowe, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Elizabeth Hurley
MPAA Rating: [PG-13] sexuality
Genre: Comedy

First he fought for the crown. Now he's fighting for the family jewels...


SUMMARY


With the help of shagadelic Felicity Shagwell (Graham), super secret agent Austin Powers (Myers) must thwart the plans of the aptly named Dr. Evil (Myers in a dual role). This time, Dr. Evil is going back in time to steal Austin's mojo, thus rendering the swinger inept at both crimefighting and shagging. The sequel to the wildly popular Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.


THE SEVEN-SECOND RUNDOWN


Lacks the high dosage of Elizabeth Hurley from the original, but funny as hell!


WHAT'S GOOD


I remember when "The Spy Who Shagged Me" was a working title considered more parody than potential. Who would have thought it would make it to the big screen?

Perhaps the funniest and most entertaining character SNL alum Mike Myers ever created, Austin Powers is simply a riot: a swinging British secret agent with outrageously bad teeth, a grossly hairy physique, and a total lack of tact when it comes to his sexual intentions ("shall we shag now, or shall we shag later?"). The character has made such an impact on American pop culture that I'm sure by now, you're all sick of entertainment buzz-phrases like "shagadelic" and "yeah, baby, yeah!" Still, though, the Austin Powers franchise excels at parodying James Bond films by overexaggerating cliches, such as the evil mastermind out to rule the world and the villain giving the hero time to escape by indulging in a long winded explanation of his plans.

But as funny as Austin is, it's really his nemesis Dr. Evil who steals the show, hands down. Sided up with a wisecracking son (played by Seth Green) and a frighteningly skeletal hairless cat named Mr. Bigglesworth, Dr. Evil is a fun, outrageous caricature. Whether he's biting an upwardly bent pinky finger or throwing out the word "frickin'," the good doctor is a constant laugh-a-thon. But if that's not enough, we get two (well, maybe one and a half) times the fun with the introduction of "Mini Me," a midget clone version of Dr. Evil. The three foot tall package of death stirs up some real trouble for Austin, and adds a wonderful dose of politically incorrect humor to the mix.

And speaking of politically incorrect, Myers brilliantly plays three roles in this film, including a self-described character named "Fat Bastard"! I'm over here laughing my ass off just writing about it...
THE FACE OF EVIL!

In the tradition of Alotta Fagina from the first Austin Powers, the sequel loads up on chicks named for crude, sexual innuendos. Besides Austin's sexy sidekick Felicity Shagwell, played by Heather Graham, there's Robin Swallows and Ivana Humpalot. (Yet somehow still more subtle than Pussy Galore, don't ya think?)

This second installment of the Austin Powers saga actually has a more intricate story than the original, if only because of the time travel element. Going back to the 1960s, Dr. Evil plans to steal Austin's mojo. So what the hell is mojo? Well, it's what gives Austin all his secret agent skills. It's also the inexplicable force that is responsible for his powers of shagging. You can see where this is going.

The supporting cast is all good. Seth Green reprises his role as Dr. Evil's son, Scott Evil, and has a scene in which his dysfunctional family tries to work things out on Jerry Springer! Robert Wagner reprises his role as Dr. Evil's assistant, Number Two, and Rob Lowe plays Number Two's younger self in the past. The Spy Who Shagged Me doesn't require much brain juice, but for a fun, comedic time at the movies, it's the best bet this summer.



WHAT'S BAD


Being such a big fan of Dr. Evil, I found Austin's antics, in comparison, rather flat.

Overall, The Spy Who Shagged Me suffers from the same shortcomings as the original: too many instances of a single joke overstaying its welcome. Whether it's the overkilled evil laughing or Will Ferrell's stupid dungeon bit in the original, or the dance numbers of the sequel, certain scenes in this franchise simply don't know when to end.

I guess I'll have to apologize in advance to all the Rollergirl fans out there, but Heather Graham has got nothing on Elizabeth Hurley! Don't get me wrong: she plays her role well and is definitely easy on the eyes. But I thought Hurley's Vanessa Kensington made a better sidekick for Austin, and was disappointed to learn that she only has an all-too-brief cameo in the sequel (the movie opens with her and Austin on their honeymoon), and was essentially replaced as the resident "Powers babe." I guess it's not surprising, though. If you're going to parody Bond films, I guess you have to get new eye candy with every episode.


Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
MORE ABOUT RATINGS

SEE ALSO...
Celebrity Picture Gallery: Elizabeth Hurley
Celebrity Picture Gallery: Heather Graham







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