Reviews by Alan Jones

selected from Starburst #252
A deliciously evil shagadelic sequel Alan Jones's Movie Reviews is just one part of Starburst's monthly Reviews section. In every issue: a TV View, from the US or UK: our popular Bookshelf section on the latest Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels, plus Soundtracks, games and websites in Cybertech, take-home releases in Videofile and DVD File, plus John Brosnan's It's Only A Movie
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Austin Space! If you loved Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, then you’re going to adore the shagadelic sequel. It’s as simple as that.

The Spy Who Shagged Me is more of the same with a far bigger budget to make its Fantasy elements really count and a few extra laughter-free zones in its second half. That scintillating element of delighted surprise with which fans of Swinging Sixties Secret Agents embraced director Jay Roach’s first instalment is now obviously missing. But while Mike Myers and company do rake over old material to a great extent, they do it with the same degree of high style, knowing geniality, lack of restraint and sense of shared fun that made the first shaggy 007 tale such a winner.

Austin Powers is truly one of the great creations of the Nineties and it’s a great relief to report that his integrity as a cult phenomenon hasn’t been compromised by a mere cynical cash-in. Sure, the hype machine is on overdrive.

However, Myers clearly cares about the character and hasn’t so much broadened his appeal as allowed a wider audience further in on the narrow joke. “Isn’t it amazing how much England looks like Southern California!” he says in one self-aware aside to the camera as Austin speeds down Mulholland Drive in his E-type Shaguar past signs saying ‘English Countryside’ with a red phone box on every curve.

This time the Guru of Go Go has to travel back to the Sixties in pursuit of Dr Evil who has had the temerity to steal his mojo from his cryogenically frozen body hidden in the Ministry of Defence. Naturally Austin wants to get his sex drive back and, with the help of mod CIA chick Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham), also finds the time to thwart yet another Evil plan to destroy the world by powerful laser beam from the villain’s quasi-futuristic Moon base. You can take the boy out of the Sixties but you can’t take the Sixties out of the boy is the motto of this slick caper.

All our favourite characters (Frau Barbissina, Basil Exposition, Vanessa Kensington and Scott Evil) return for yet more suave spoofing and ludicrous lampooning in about equal proportion. Each works like a charm in the Women, Weapons and Wisecracks hip jigsaw that the Austin Powers franchise has now become.

Best addition is Verne Troyer as Mini-Me, the midget clone of Dr Evil. His climactic fight scene with Austin within Austin’s space suit is a rib-tickling high point. As for Heather Graham – yes, she’s fine as the compliant Felicity, but I missed the delicious sparring between Austin and Vanessa which I felt was a vital part of the original film’s success.

Okay, so The Spy Who Shagged Me doesn’t have quite as good an opening musical number, the Fat Bastard Scottish henchman isn’t amusing despite what Myers may think, and Robert Wagner gets short shrift as Number Two. Never mind. Once again I loved every naff Bond gag (Austin wearing an Ursula Andress Dr No bikini, the You Only Live Twice volcano hideaway, the Moonraker space base) and I hugged myself with glee at the anticipation of more surprise appearances by the likes of Elvis Costello and Tim Robbins. The Spy Who Shagged Me was as stupid as I wanted it to be and just as sophisticated in that stupidity as the initial day-glo excursion. I hope Myers realizes this one could run as long as the Bond franchise. More please and soon.

Release
America • June 11
Britain • July 30

Cast

Mike Myers
Heather Graham
Rob Lowe
Robert Wagner
Elizabeth Hurley
Kristen Johnston
Gia Carides
Mindey Sterling
Seth Green
Verne Troyer
Michael York
Will Ferrell


Production Producers
John Lyons
Mike Myers
Eric McLeod
Jennifer & Suzanne Todd • Demi Moore
Executive Producer
Erwin Stoff
Associate Producer
Emma Chasin
Director • Jay Roach
Writers
Mike Myers
Michael McCullers
Music
George S Clinton
Starburst rating:
10
out of 10


Austin Powerspicture copyright New Line / Entertainment

'‘The Spy Who Shagged Me' was as stupid as I wanted it to be and just as sophisticated in that stupidity as the initial day-glo excursion’

 
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