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Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Austin Space! If you loved Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, then youre going to adore the shagadelic sequel. Its 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 Roachs 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 its a great relief to report that his integrity as a cult phenomenon hasnt been compromised by a mere cynical cash-in. Sure, the hype machine is on overdrive.
However, Myers clearly cares about the character and hasnt so much broadened his appeal as allowed a wider audience further in on the narrow joke. Isnt 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 villains quasi-futuristic Moon base. You can take the boy out of the Sixties but you cant 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 Austins space suit is a rib-tickling high point. As for Heather Graham yes, shes 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 films success.
Okay, so The Spy Who Shagged Me doesnt have quite as good an opening musical number, the Fat Bastard Scottish henchman isnt 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.
|Read the full review Starburst #252|