Austin Powers - * *

Austin Powers

Austin Powers is an uneven combination spoof of spy movies and 1960s psychedelia. Mike Myers is Austin Powers, the supercool superspy in 1967 London. When his nemesis Dr. Evil (a Blofeld clone also played by Myers) launches himself into orbit in cryogenic suspension, Austin Powers also has himself frozen to be thawed when the world needs him again. Thirty years pass. Dr. Evil falls from orbit and once again plots to take over the world. To combat this menace, Austin Powers is defrosted. However, both Powers and Dr. Evil are relics of the past, and hopelessly out of date. Powers is no longer the suave swinger he still thinks he is, and Dr. Evil must cope with the fact that his terrorist organization has bloomed into a respectable multibillion dollar production company, and deal with a slacker son he never knew he had. There’s a scene in Austin Powers in which Dr. Evil, after plotting the demise of the world, cackles madly with his cohorts in crime. The cackles slowly fade to chortles, and eventually the motley group just stands around, unsure of what to do next as the scene continues on what is traditionally a fade-to-black. Throughout a large part of Austin Powers, you feel as if you are a part of that group. You laugh at something humorous, but then the scene excruciatingly drags on, well past the point in which all the laughter has been wrung out. In a way, the film plays like a collection of related Saturday Night Live sketches. There are a few jokes that stand out here and there (the psychedelic scene breaks, or Dr. Evil’s therapy group for example), but the repetitiveness overplays their welcome quickly. Elizabeth Hurley is given the thankless role of Austin Powers’ assistant and guide to the 90s, Vanessa Kensington. She also has the unnecessary job as Austin Powers’ love interest, a subplot which doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the film. There’s probably enough material here to fill a film half Austin Powers’ length, but for a ninety minute film, it needs additional material badly.

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