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and hopelessly out of date.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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