Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 15, 2014
True, it's filled with dated 90's pop culture references, weak dialogue, and jokes that can sometimes descend into 5th grade levels of juvenile humor. But I'd be lying if I said this Mike Myer's "James Bond" spoof wasn't hilarious. Myers does a great job portraying two characters (The Dr. Evil scenes are by far the greatest highlights of the film). It's fun stupid comedy romp, especially if you are a fan of the James Bond franchise because there are loads of homages to the Sean Connery-era.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2012
Never mind the 60's the 90's are dated enough jez! this film brings back so many memories of my teen years and how this film really made an impact on those times, not me...just the time.

So apart from bad personal memories what else does this film offer? well actually its pretty good and probably one of the best Bond spoofs/parodies you will see. With a wide range of Bond films spoofed it covers all the regular cliched bases, all the set ups, costumes, plot ideals that you would expect from Bond plus a lot of clever smutty humour. Actually Myers does really well with the whole British comedy thing, he does nail or encapsulate the genre very well, you could almost say its a modern 'Carry On' film.

Seeing as this is the first film its not quite as good as the second for me, everything is obviously being set up with characters etc...and the abundance of cameos was slightly worrying at first, kinda assumed it would be a mass celebrity ego trip but surprisingly it all adds to the fun quite nicely. The small cameos by Lowe and Ferrell are good (and fast) but the brief Tom Arnold cameo was probably the best if you like blatant toilet humour.

Hard to tell who this is aimed at really as there is much slapstick and childish humour but also some knife edge stuff also, lots of sexually visual gags and naughty names which are very suggestive but admittedly smile inducing. A much more easier character to get on with than 'Wayne Campbell' of 'Wayne's World' and a more universal concept methinks. Every possible stereotype is lanced, all costumes, sets, music, vehicles etc...are correctly presented as this juggernaut of the 60's era steams along with some crazy wild vintage kitsch and a performance from Myers that Carrey would envy.
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2013
Great for some yuks and pop culture references! And I know Elizabeth Hurley isn't really the It Girl anymore and she has come across as vapid and culturally unaware in soundbites, but I really think she is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2010
The first Austin Powers instalment is genuinely hilarious! However, the jokes seem repetitive and the dialogue is weak. International Man of Mystery is not Mike Myers best film, but he definitely does a bang up job of portraying more than one character. The stupid humour surrounds this film with delight and will never get old. The spoofing is quite satisfying and the "SPY GAME" is mischievous! Austin Powers- International Man of Mystery Rocks, even though it feels a little slow paced!
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2012
Much like the Bond series which it parodies, the Austin Powers series has become an indelible part of popular culture. There's barely anyone who grew up in the 1990s who can't quote from it, and even people who've never seen the film smile knowingly at the mention of "Yeah, baby!" or "Oh, behave!". And while Bond has proved many times that influence and longevity are not guarantees of quality, International Man of Mystery has aged surprisingly well compared to other spy parodies in the same vein.

Austin Powers is a meeting point between British and North American humour, reflected in Mike Myers' dual British-Canadian citizenship. Having grown up with Monty Python and the Carry On series, Myers was better placed than most American comedians to create a spoof of Bond, or indeed the many other 1960s spy films and TV series like The Avengers and Secret Agent, a.k.a. Danger Man. There was also renewed public interest in the Bond series following its successful re-launch with Goldeneye. Pierce Brosnan's neo-classical Bond, which mixed 1960s puns with 1990s product placement, set things up nicely for Myers to come in and poke fun at aspects that fans young and old would know only too well.

Considering that Myers cut his teeth on Saturday Night Live, you could be forgiven for expecting a film that is little more than a series of sketches. But just as Wayne's World still ranks as one of the best films to come from SNL, so Myers and director Jay Roach deserve credit for giving us a half-decent narrative. The film is never consistently funny, with peaks and troughs throughout its 90-minute running time, but for the most part it feels like it is moving towards something rather than just waiting for a laugh.

For fans of the Bond series, whether genuinely or ironically, International Man of Mystery is chock full of references to the films, and lovingly parodies many aspects which have come to define the character. The most obvious is the sexually suggestive names, with the character Alotta Fagina nodding both to Famke Janssen's character in Goldeneye and the likes of Pussy Galore and Plenty O'Toole. Having a character so blatantly named raises a laugh, but also a feeling of embarrassment - a feeling of: "How did we let them get away with that?"

While the Roger Moore era is in the firing line in terms of sexual overtones, the main target of Austin Powers is the Connery era. The sets borrow heavily from the early days of the series, with the penthouse nodding to You Only Live Twice and the nuclear-related climax being lifted from Dr. No. The latter is also a possible reference to Daleks: Invasion Earth AD 2150, in which the Daleks attempt to drill out the Earth's core to turn the planet into a spaceship (just don't call it a Death Star).

There are also more general Bond parodies which strike a chord. Michael York does a brilliant job as Basil Exposition, parodying M's only real role in the series beyond being annoyed at Bond. Much is made of Austin's appearance, with his oversized teeth and seeming manhood problems sending up Connery's immeasurable sex appeal (even though Austin is equally irresistible). And while there's no Q figure in Austin's universe, the conversation about a certain Swedish object more than makes up for it. Besides, the film is already silly enough without throwing joke gadgets into the mix.

The big challenge for Austin Powers, or indeed for any spoof, is that the film needs to work as a believable and compelling story in itself. It's not enough for us to get the jokes in whatever order we see them: there has to be a logic from which they emanate which we can follow and bond with, even if that logic is rooted is something utterly stupid or absurd. As with The Princess Bride, the film is never entirely sure how far it wants to depart from convention, or whether its humour comes mainly from celebrating the ludicrous nature of Bond or looking down on it. This indecision, whether by Roach or Myers, makes the film far more uneven than it needs to be.

The film is at its funniest when it has the confidence to deconstruct the clichés of Bond. There are pockets of great surreal comedy throughout the film, most of them involving Dr. Evil going unknowingly over-the-top. The dreadful puns, laughing evilly for no reason, the overly elaborate and utterly inept means of imprisoning characters - all are handled with affectionate aplomb. Funniest of all is the group therapy scene, in which Dr. Evil recounts the most absurdly hilarious backstory to a therapist played by Carrie Fisher (oh, the irony).

Austin Powers is also strong when it approaches the world of spying from a smaller, more tangential angle. There are two instances in the film where a minor character, a henchman of some kind, is introduced and then bumped off - nothing unusual there. But the film then cuts to the family or friends of said henchman as they are informed of his death, with one being his wife and stepson, and the other his best friends waiting for him to show up for his stag night. These jokes are well-paced and witty, as well as doing much to convince us that we what we are seeing stretches beyond the four corners of the screen.

Unfortunately, these kinds of smart, insightful gags are sandwiched between swathes of dated gross-out jokes which go on far too long. The "Number 2" sequence, featuring Austin on the toilet, is funny in a fleeting, sub-American Pie way, as are the sight gags involving objects covering people's private parts. But while it's all fine and good on its own, this kind of humour becomes embarrassing when it's in the context of the other, smarter stuff. It's like a refined university student having to hang out with his teenage brother, who insists on making fart noises and shouting "boobs!" in the middle of seminars.

The plot of Austin Powers is also a little suspect. Having set up that Vanessa isn't the least bit charmed by Austin, they seem to hit it off pretty quickly. If this was intended as a send-up of Bond's romantic relationships, the film doesn't put enough effort into make this transition seem either credible or so incredible that it's funny. There's also surprisingly little attempt to use Austin's fish-out-of-water predicament to greater effect: there's a few jokes about him being out-of-date in the 1990s, but once he's become his old self the film carries on as if those scenes weren't all that important.

Ultimately the film rises and falls on the strengths of its jokes and the performers who deliver them. On the good side, Seth Green is funny as Dr. Evil's snarky son Scott, and Robert Wagner wrings everything he can out of his role as Number 2. On the bad side, Will Ferrell as usual isn't funny, with his passingly amusing joke about a badly burned minion being dragged out far too long. Liz Hurley acquits herself just about okay, though a lot of the time it seems like her audio has been dubbed - and not particularly well-dubbed at that.

Fortunately both of these niggles are redeemed by Myers, who handles his two roles with good timing and much charisma. His Dr. Evil is by far the more enjoyable performance, with more of the jokes hitting the mark and the costume tapping into everything that made Blofeld simultaneously sinister and ridiculous. Whatever questionable choices he made with later characters (like Fat Bastard and Goldmember), here he is immensely watchable.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a pretty good first instalment of what would become a trilogy. It's nothing like as consistent as it needs to be, with the film settling for broader, more scatological humour when its smarter stuff is far more funny and interesting. But Myers manages to keep the laughs coming over the 90 minutes, and Roach is on hand to keep it all looking and feeling like a film rather than a sketch show. It's not perfect, but as Get Smart and others have shown, it could have been a whole lot worse.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2006
Mike Myers' James Bond parody is not only one of the funniest films of the 90s, but full of so many great points about action and secret agent films. There's hardly a genre stereotype that doesn't get tackled and made fun of. It helps of course that Myers created really unique and fun characters with his horny secret agent Powers and his nemesis Dr. Evil. The swinging soundtrack also adds to the fun, along with many star cameos and a wide variety of silly to ingenious gags. There hasn't been a film trilogy with such a joke density since the Naked Gun movies, even if not all of them work, there is a lot of fun to have with this.
Super Reviewer
½ February 8, 2012
You know, as goofy as it is, it ages pretty well. Obviously very unique when it first came, very watchable and re-watchable in the 21st century.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2011
Didn't think a premise or comedy like this would be enjoyable but it was. Don't remember much but what I do remember was that it was entertaining.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2011
Fresh movie that really hadn't been attempted before, gotta love that originality. Along with that comes lots of laughs and a great performance from Mike Myers.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
If you enjoy time travel movies, spy movies, spoofs, and/or the comedy of Mike Myers, then you will enjoy this movie. Some of the comedy is dumb, and a few of the jokes aren't funny, but overall there are really funny jokes and running gags too. The cast is great, not just Myers, the rest of the cast is great, especially Will Ferrell. This is a good movie, and I recommend it.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
June 3, 2011
Mike Myers is terrific in this Spy spoof based on James Bond. Austin Powers is the world's best spy and he is also the 1960's most recognizable sex symbol. Well played by Mike Myers, Austin Powers is a terrific, enjoyable comedy with plenty of laughs. For those who loves spoof films, this film will be a treat because it's very original despite the fact that it tries to spoof old school Bond flicks. The film is witty and very funny with a terrific cast. Austin Powers is a fun film with plenty of laughs. Mike Myers is simply terrific, and he delivers something great on screen. Austin Powers is a well written comedy thats a lot of fun, and like I said has plenty of laughs. This film along with its sequels are some of the best films that Mike Myers has done. The comedy keeps rolling because the cast do a fine job at keeping the pace of the film. Theres never really anything dull or unenjoyable about the film, it's simply too much gun to point out its flaws. Theres more good things going for this film than bad things. Even after over 10 years since it's initial release, Austin Powers is still a good comedy. Sure of the humour has lost of its fizzle, but with a cast like this you can still laugh at it now and think that the humour is good nonetheless.
DreamExtractor
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2011
It wasnt as good as I thought it'd be. It was funny as hell but the second surpassed it by far. Still a good movie but really boring.
TomBowler
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2009
The beginning of one of the most well known characters and some truly funny scenes. Full review later.
movieguru12
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2008
Mike Myers is so hillarious!!!! I LOVED IT!!! One of my absolute favorite movies! :)
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2010
Silly but uproaringly clever.
Super Reviewer
½ June 25, 2010
really funny. B
CloudStrife84
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2007
Don't ask me why, but for some reason I had confused this first Austin Powers flick with the second one, thinking they were one and the same movie (maybe no wonder, as they're extremely similiar to eachother). But now that I saw this, I realised I had never actually seen the original before. Not in its full length anyhow. Humor- and directing-wise its definitely the weakest of the three. The jokes aren't as funny compared to AP 2 and 3, and the comedic timing isn't always there. Either way though, it's an enjoyable 1½ hours that we're treated to. Just not as good as its follow-ups. Thus, making it an exception to the rule of sequels.
deano
Super Reviewer
October 30, 2006
This is the finest hilarious spoof of 60's spy flicks, a swinging secret agent is thawed out of his cryogenic state in order to combat his old nemesis.
The laughs never stop as Myers entertains in two pivotal roles. Hurley is sexy as Austin's partner and love interest. Robert Wagner finds ways to make fun of his "It Takes a Thief" character and is very entertaining in the process.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2009
It has a few cheap laughs and obnoxious humor. It's not really even a spoof when you try to be as bad as this. Maybe it's because I don't like Mike Myers, but I just don't know why people find the character hilarious. It's nothing but a bad SNL skit that lasts an hour and a half.
Super Reviewer
½ October 16, 2009
Dude I hated this movie first time I saw it. Sooooo over the top, stupid, corny, and unfunny!
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