3 1/2 Stars
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was such a cultural phenomenon in the late 1990s that I remembered the catchphrases, but forgot just how funny the film actually is. I saw Austin Powers in theaters, where it performed decently, but the majority of its audience found the title on home-video. This was evident by the blockbuster grosses of the 1999 sequel. So, at the time, it felt like this was a hilarious sleeper that no one had seen. A year later the Powers-isms were inescapable.
Austin Powers is a jet-setter and an international spy of the highest order. His directive from the British Government is to capture his nemesis Dr. Evil (Mike Meyers). But the dastardly mastermind eludes Powers and hides in his cryogenic pod, which is jettisoned into space, where it floats undisturbed for thirty years.
Now, three decades later, Austin has been released from his frozen state to once again battle Dr. Evil. The twist is that the 1960s minded Powers is in culture shock due to the conservative nature of the 1990s. His assigned aide Ms. Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), the daughter of his former aide, is the object of Austin’s over-active libido. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil finds he has a 15yr. old son (Seth Green) and their attempts at emotional connection are some of the film’s best moments.
A James Bond spoof is not an easy assignment. Spy Hard was the most recent to try this material, but that film had a modern attitude and style. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery makes the smart decision to focus on the swinging 1960s and the outlandish sexual behavior and drug culture, while also providing a hero and villain that are equally funny. Directed with loving care by Jay Roach, Austin Powers is a love-letter to Bond and the era.
Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York