AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert
Wagner, Rob Lowe, Seth Green
Director: Jay Roach
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Transfer
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 95 Minutes
Release Date: November 16, 1999
Mike Myers, by going back to sixties, created one of the ultimate
comic icons of the nineties with his swinging, brash British secret agent, Austin Powers. He
was a clever mixture of James Bond, Flint, and many other characters of that style and
sensibilityand even if you didnt pick up on all that, there was still plenty
of laughs to be had. By creating a scenario
whereby this sixties relic of a spy was brought into our present time, Myers was able to
strike a box office gusher. And like the spy
movies he so cleverly spoofed, a sequel was inevitable.
Well, the good news is that Austin
Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is a most
worthy sequel. It is a near non-stop laugh
riot, performed and filmed with a terrifically light hearted and naughty spirit. It works because it captures and builds on what
was popular about the first movie, while finding new territory to explore.
The plot is very simple
Austin (Myers), after having thwarted
his nemesis, Dr. Evil (Myers again), finds himself following the mad villain back to the
sixties. The reason? Dr. Evil has stolen Austins mojo (I
cant quite explain, but it works
Now, a somewhat powerless Austin is all thats left to stop Dr.
Evils latest plan of world domination.
But lets be real
the movie is not about the plot,
its about the jokes, and there are plenty to spare here. I especially liked the self-depreciating ones
(Isnt it funny how England looks nothing like Southern California?), or
the way the anomalies that plague every time travel film are dealt with. Austin is told by Basil (York) not to worry about
them. Then he looks right at us with a smile,
and suggests we not worry about them, either.
By bringing Austin back to his swinging sixties, the sequel avoids
the pitfall of repeating the premise of the first movie, the humor of which was largely
derived from the fish-out-of-water notion. Austin
is not such a cultural oddity in the past. As
such, the movie is allowed to concentrate on the more interesting character, Dr. Evil. Which is no flaw
after all, the villains were
always more interesting than James Bond. And Myers is keen enough to know what a comic gem
he has in Dr. Evil, and milks him for everything hes worth. My personal favorite was a scene with the younger
Number Two (Lowe), which was straight out of The
There are also other priceless bits, including an outrageous shadow
puppet display, a running gag about the shape of Dr. Evils rocket that keeps getting
better and better, a third outrageous performance by Myers as the crass, Scottish assassin
Fat Bastard, and a hysterical spoof of The Jerry Springer Show. Throw in the fetching Heather Graham as
Austins compatriot-in-arms Felicity Shagwell, and youve got quite an
The comedy in this film is not for everyone, to be sure. Much of it is crude, sophomoric, and possibly
offensive (though after seeing South Park, this
film looks more like an Andy Hardy movie to me). But I cant help but think that most who
would appreciate a good laugh will heartily enjoy this film.
New Line delivers again. With a bigger budget the second time around, this movie boasts even richer art direction than before, and the never ending array of gorgeous colors translate beautifully on this disc. Images are bright, sharp, and clear throughout, with no evidence of grain or compression. Colors are always extraordinarily defined and contained. You almost need sunglasses for the experience.
The 5.1 soundtrack is lively and dynamic, particularly during the
climatic action scenes, and with a nice catalogue of pop songs and George Clintons
terrific musical score to accompany. All channels
are come into play during several sequences, and the balance of the crossover effects are
smooth and well rendered, including the low rumblings from the .1 channel. Another
outstanding triumph for New Line.
From the very beginning, Mike Myers and Jay Roach were vocal about
how good the DVD was going to be, with the promise that every scene cut to meet its PG 13
rating would be included. Theyre
22 in all, to be exact. Thats
just the beginning. Theres a full
length commentary with Myers and Roach, a behind the scenes documentary, three music
videos, four trailers, DVD ROM extras, cast and crew info, and even a hidden Dr.
Evil page, with more features, including the Comedy Central biography program. Whats more, Myers appears in the menu
screens to point you out to your different choices. He
obviously filmed these just for the DVD, and is just another example of much how he,
Roach, and New Line were committed to this quality release.
If you like to laugh, and dont find a bit of juvenile humor to your displeasure, then Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged me is just what youre looking for. Its as funny as the original, with so many jokes and gags that youll need more than one viewing to catch all of them. And as a Platinum Series DVD from New Line, they dont come much better looking or more loaded with fun extras than this. Its a bargain at any price. Except maybe one hundred billion dollars