Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

<austin powers poster

It’s hard to believe it has been 8 years since Austin Powers was unleashed on the world. A couple of sequels and far too many “Yeah Babys” later, and seemingly we’ve all had enough. I sat down and watched International Man of Mystery for the first time in a year, a few nights ago. What I found is a pretty solid comedy, which still manages to hold up, even after being parodied to death.

The jokes are no longer wet yourself funny. They are more oh-I-remember-when-this-was-hilarious cute. I did laugh out loud on a few occasions, but mostly I felt a kind sense of nostalgia, for jokes that were nostalgic in themselves. The scenes I remember most, still hold up rather well. The dancing credit sequence and the bits where we almost see nudity are beautifully done. Classics of cinema really.

Mike Myers created a very lovely character in Austin Powers. He is truly charming, funny, and a great send-up of all the classic spy characters. Jay Roach does a very nice job of bringing the manic energy of Myers’s creation to the screen while maintaining the feel of all the 60’s spy films.

Elizabeth Hurley proves once again that she has a pretty face, and looks great in a short, tight, silver skirt, but whose acting skills are less than desirable. Her character’s straight (wo)man to Power’s swinger is the weakest aspect of the film. She is way too boring playing it as a 1990s gal trying to make it as an Agent on her abilities alone. Yet, her transition into a groovy chic is unbelievable and rather insipid.

While watching, I kept forgetting which bits were in this one, and which ones actually belong in the sequels. Here there is no Mini-Me, no Heather Graham, and no references to genitalia when referring to a rocket. Too bad, too, because those are great sources of humor and I don’t have the strength to watch any of the sequels just yet.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a great film to throw in while having a party. There is no need to see and hear everything clearly. There is nothing, really to analyze. It works well as background filler to supply some hearty laughs when there is a lull in the conversations.

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