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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)



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The first Austin Powers movie pushed the bounds of good taste, but I liked it: it was clever and knew how to parody James Bond well -- something many others have tried to do before and failed -- by picking up on every nuance of the Bond world, from the elaborate badguy hideouts, right down to the soundtrack.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is in even worst taste and is less funny. The balance shifted too far toward gross-out jokes and away from cleverness. I laughed, yes, but I groaned and slapped my forehead in disbelief more often. It's one thing to exercise bad taste in the service of a greater goal, but bad taste for bad taste's own sake -- bad taste just to get a cheap reaction out of the audience -- is a less than admirable accomplishment.

It doesn't help that much of the humor in this sequel is recycled from the first movie. Nor does it help that the story lacks any kind of cohesiveness. This feels like a kind of warped vaudeville show for frat boys. It's a series of sketches, not a story, some of which are funny and more of which are not.

Dr. Evil is still the funniest comic villain to hit the screens in a long time, and his son Scott, with actual common sense, is still the classic foil for him. Unfortunately, their comic possibilities are buried under a mountain of tiresome sophomoric potty jokes.

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