Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me (12)
HE’S back, he’s horny and baby, he’s groovy.
Snaggletoothed sex machine Austin Powers goes head-to-head with his nemesis Dr Evil in another comic adventure which, funnily enough, is pretty much like the first outing for the hip, happening and hirsute superspy.
Going on the old adage that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, Mike Myers has accumulated all the ingredients which made his first spoof such a refreshing hit and has fine-tuned the formula, incorporating elements of all the Bond films, and especially You Only Live Twice with Donald Pleasence’s Blofeld, with The Thomas Crown Affair and even The Exorcist.
The plot retreads much old ground, but concentrates on our shagadelic hero returning to the past to recover his mojo – hip speak for libido – which has been stolen by the nefarious villain.
En-route Powers discovers his stunning wife, Vanessa Kensington, played with vapid charm by Liz Hurley, is really a ‘fembot’ (now there’s perfect casting), and links up with chic CIA chick Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) in her velvet hot pants and knee-high Avengers boots.
This is wonderful, juvenile stuff, combining the risque humour of the Carry On series with a terrific spoof of the 007 franchise which stems directly from the mind of Myers.
He throws in a Star Wars rip-off for good humour, acknowledges it, and happily thrusts his cast into a laugh-a-minute gagfest which is strong enough to attract a host of celebrity cameos including Woody Harrelson, country legend Willie Nelson and Tim Robbins as the US President.
Myers again plays hero and villain, and throws in a flatulent, corpulent Scots assassin named Fat Bastard for good measure. The gaggle of supporting characters include a midget Dr Evil nicknamed Mini Me, a return by Michael York as Basil Exposition, and Rob Lowe, stepping into Robert Wagner’s shoes, as a younger version of his character Number 2.
Myers has a ball with his script, which anchors itself on the apparent inability of the US audience to grasp the British slang meaning of the word shag. Cue lots of childish giggling from American cinemagoers when they realise it doesn’t refer to carpet, dancing, seabirds or tobacco.
Then there is the stunning Heather Graham, who positively oozes sex appeal as blonde bombshell Felicity Shagwell. She exudes ’90s sensuality with ’60s dress sense – a fabulous combination and a perfect counterpart to Myers’s over-the-top mugging.
Yet, obviously, this remains Myers’ movie. A second bite of the same cherry, Austin Powers showcases his limitless talent for impersonation, improvisation and characterisation, effortlessly placing him on the top of the list of US comedy performers.
When it comes to writing and starring in his own material, Myers has the opposition licked. He’s hit on a formula, it works – even if many of the jokes are old favourites – and it’s funny. Adam Sandler should take note.
Who else but Myers could have dreamed up a Jerry Springer Show with Dr Evil as the main guest among the dysfunctional parents on stage?
Wild, wacky, groovy and fab, Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me is everything it appears, and more. It deserves to be huge.