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AUSTIN POWERS 2 : The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
Movie Review

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AUSTIN POWERS 2 MOVIE POSTER
AUSTIN POWERS 2, 1999
Movie Reviews

Directed by Jay Roach
Starring: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Rob Lowe, Robert Wagner, Mindy Sterling, Seth Green, Elizabeth Hurley, Will Ferrell
Review by Matthew Toffolo



SYNOPSIS:

Dr. Evil is back...and has invented a new time machine that allows him to go back to the 60's and steal Austin Powers's mojo, inadvertently leaving him "shagless".

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REVIEW:

The second installment of the Austin Powers film really deserves a second and third viewing. There are many laugh out loud memorable moments, but it's the small jokes that might not get noticed in the first viewing that really makes this film a gem. Every moment and line in this film is a smart joke of some kind and the writing is excellent. AND, they also found the art (if there is an art for such a thing) of pounding a joke over and over again for minute upon minute and we don't get tired from it. There is a penis in the sky joke that goes on forever and we really don't mind it because there are so many penis jokes. And they tried to tell us as many of them as possible.

On paper this plot of Austin Powers 2 makes no sense at all. And even the characters in the film talk to the audience directly in the first act and tell us that too. Telling jokes is the main concern and whatever crazy plot situation written to do this is fine by us.

The role of Felicity Shagwell, played by Heather Graham is really a landmark role. You ask why? Because she plays the same role as Austin Powers does, except that she's a woman. She talks in sexual undertones and seems to have only one thing on her mind. She was the Samantha on Sex and the City before her character existed. The only thing different is that she's interacting against Austin Powers, the same type as her (but without his 'mojo', one of the non-important plots of the film), so sometimes it feels like there are two Curly's and not a Moe.

Graham was criticized by the critics when the film came out for her lack of acting prowess. I really never understood what they were seeing as she hit all the proper emotional and comedic beats that was written for her. In retrospect, its pretty obvious that the mostly male film critics were either consciously or sub-consciously sexist. A man can scream "Yeah baby" and "Let's shag" but if a woman does it, she makes people feel uncomfortable. A woman isn't supposed to be like that! Of course there is no difference between and man and a woman liking recreational sex, but society isn't used to seeing a woman like this. And Samantha on Sex and the City gets away with it because there are 3 other woman on the show who are more conventional.

Austin Powers 2 is a much tighter film than its original. And you can tell that they were given a much larger budget too. The sets and situations are much larger and there are many more characters. Of course Mike Myers takes another key character for himself.

Fat Bastard is a fat bastard and works for Dr. Evil. He is written so Myers can do his Scottish accent character and when someone is really fat, it's funny. There's a strange moment in the end where he is asked whether he's happy or not. And Fat Bastard goes on long tale how he compensates food for temporary joy. It seemed like just a throw in scene that was done in reshoots much later after filming completed. This scene just didn't have anything to do with the film. It could of been a scene they needed to add in order to appease a certain demographic that could of been offended by the character.

And the most famous new character in Austin Powers 2 was Mini-Me. A 1/8th version of Dr. Evil played by Verne Troyer, who will make millions in appearances for the rest of his life for playing this role. Making the character a mute was a stroke of genius. Mini-Me just reacts and growls, just like Dr. Evil does. And his fight with Austin Powers in the 3rd act is a legendary comedic fight scene.

But you have to give credit to all of the supporting players in the Austin Powers movies. They are the comedic performers that really made this film work. Their reactions to the funny antics of the memorable characters are really what makes all of the jokes as funny as they can be. Take a look at Myer's other film, The Love Guru, and you'll see that film doesn't work at all. It's because Myers wants all the jokes and he's not giving anyone the jokes muchless and funny reactions to the jokes to make the jokes more funny.

Mindy Sterling is terrific playing Frau Farbissina, Dr. Evil's henchwoman. As is both Robert Wagner and Rob Lowe who play older and young Number 2 (you have to see the film to understand). Seth Green as Scott, Dr. Evil's son is extremely funny and you can see that he had a natural wit for comedy which has led him to his Robot Chicken success.

So what you have here is a sequel that is an upgrade from its original. And in the comedy genre, that might be the first time that's ever happened and perhaps the only time that's ever happened.

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