If you don't think Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) is one of the funniest movies of the 1990s, maybe you should be packed into a cryogenic time chamber and sent back to the decade whence you came. Perhaps it was the 1960s - the shagadelic decade when London hipster Austin Powers scored with gorgeous chicks as a fashion photographer by day, crime-fighting international man of mystery by night. Yeah, baby, yeah! But when Powers's arch nemesis, Dr. Evil, puts himself into a deepfreeze and travels via time machine to the late 1990s, Powers must follow... him and foil Evil's nefarious scheme of global domination. Mike Myers plays dual roles as Powers and Dr. Evil, with Elizabeth Hurley as his present-day sidekick and karate-kicking paramour. A hilarious spoof of '60s spy movies, this colourful comedy actually gets funnier with successive viewings, making it a perfect home video for gloomy days and randy nights. Oh, behave! "I put the grrr in swinger, baby!" a deliciously randy Powers coos near the beginning of The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), and if the imagination of Austin creator Mike Myers seems to have sagged a bit, his energy surely hasn't. This friendly, go-for-broke sequel finds our man Austin heading back to the '60s to keep perennial nemesis Dr. Evil (Myers again) from blowing up the world - and, more importantly, to get back his mojo, that man-juice that turns Austin into irresistible catnip for women, especially American spygirl Felicity Shagwell (a pretty but vacant Heather Graham). The plot may be irreverent and illogical, the jokes may be bad, and the scenes may run on too long, but it's all delivered sunnily and with tongue firmly in cheek. Myers teams Dr. Evil with a diminutive clone, Mini-Me (Verne J. Troyer), then pulls a hat trick by playing a third character, the obese and disgusting Scottish assassin Fat Bastard. Despite symptoms of sequelitis, Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) is must-see lunacy for devoted fans of the shagadelic franchise. Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns is in full effect: for every big-name cameo and raunchy double-entendre, there's an equal share of redundant shtick, juvenile scatology, and pop-cultural spoofery. All is forgiven when the hilarity level is consistently high, and Mike Myers -returning here as randy Brit spy Austin, his nemesis Dr. Evil, the bloated Scottish henchman Fat Bastard, and new Dutch disco-villain Goldmember - thrives by favouring comedic chaos over coherent plotting. Once they've tossed Austin into the disco fever of 1975 (where he's sent to rescue his father, gamely played by Michael Caine), Myers and director Jay Roach seem vaguely adrift with old and new characters, including Verne Troyer's Mini-Me and pop star Beyoncé Knowles as Pam Grier-ish blaxpo-babe Foxxy Cleopatra. A bit tired, perhaps, but Powers hasn't lost his mojo. [show more]
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