Film Scouts Reviews

"Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"

by Jason Gorber

Books from
Buy Shagadelically Speaking: The Words and World of Austin Powers.

Music from
Buy The Soundtrack.

With a flash of his gnarled teeth and a yelp of "Yeah, Baby!" over the din of his Union-Jack emblazoned "Shaguar" roadster, Austin Powers careens onto the screen once again.

"The Spy Who Shagged Me" takes no risks. It basically is a complete rehash of the first film, reiterating jokes and stretching them through repetition. It is the hallmark of the Saturday Night Live comedy style - find something funny, and milk it over and over. Fortunately, unlike Pat, the Coneheads, the family saving Stuart, and even the Blues Brothers, Austin has a rich environment to draw from to create his comedy sequel.

The plot is simple - Austin's "Mojo" is stolen in 1969 thanks to Dr. Evil's time machine, and Mr. Powers must go back to get his groove thang working again. If there is a moral, it is that we all have a Mojo - or transcendental hypersexual core that provides an ontological basis for our manifest existential ego - that can't be taken away by any nefarious deed. And that finally, when all is said and done, Go Go cages and hot pants are just really groovy.

The sequel utilizes conventions of reflexive humor (talking directly to the camera, commenting upon how much driving in rural England looks surprisingly like Southern California) to poke fun at itself. The film does rely on some witty comments, but mostly gets by with base humour and the same shtick that made the first film a cult favorite. A notable mix of both these elements are the extended montage sequences involving first a strolling nude superspy, and then a variety of euphemisms for Austin's 'power tool'. Meanwhile, Austin's quaint chauvinism finds its counterpart with the barely-clothed CIA spy Heather Graham. Dr. Evil accordingly finds his "Mini-me" to be the Freudian fulfillment of every father's dream.

It was interesting to be in an audience where all the pithy Yiddish went over the heads of the suburbians (my fav, the Republic of Kreplachistan). Star Wars references abound, and they were well received, while the Exorcist reference was completely lost on them. Still, there were enough giggly moments and shit/fart jokes to please even the most hair-sprayed teen.

Thinking too much about this film would certainly miss the point. If you hated the first, there's not much you'll find fun here. If you don't mind rolling around in a world of Obese Scotsmen, eye-patched henchmen, and Jerry Springer, then you'll enjoy being shagged by Austin one more time.

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