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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)



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James Bond spoofs, like Casino Royale and Spy Hard have typically not turned out well. The problem is that James Bond is, in a more refined manner, a spoof of espionage stories himself. It's hard to spoof a spoof, no matter how established the formula.

Yet Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery proves it's not impossible. Saturday Night Live alumnus Mike Myers creates two characters -- Austin Powers, a legendary secret agent hopelessly lost in the sixties' hippie era, and Dr. Evil, a Blofeld-clone, right down to the bald head, scarred face, and white cat. He's even got his own elaborate hideout, complete with gift shop. Powers is funny, although the innuendos are way overdone, but Dr. Evil is an ingenious comic creation, especially the best component of this film.

The allusions to the Bond films are many and varied, and Bond fans should have fun spotting them all. There's even scene that features The Look of Love, a song from the 1967 Casino Royale spoof. And the music is as reminiscent of classic John Barry as it could possibly be.

As I mentioned, though, the innuendo is way overdone, to the point where a lot of it isn't even funny innuendo, it's just gratuitous and often dumb. This is a movie that induces almost as many forehead-slaps as laughs. But there's so much material here, and the net total is still a lot of laughter.

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