Movie Review - Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Myers abandons script for sketch in 'Austin Powers'

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery tries to build a full-blown comedy on little more than Mike Myers' charm and a lot of gaudy 1960s clothing.

This is not the secret recipe for sure-fire comedy.

Mr. Myers plays a smarmy British secret agent who opens the movie leading a cast of '60s fashion plates in a wacky dance on the streets of London.

In short order, his arch-enemy, Dr. Evil, (also played by Mr. Myers) is frozen and launched into orbit, so Austin has himself placed on ice.

When Evil's rocket (shaped like a Big Boy) returns to earth, Austin is thawed out to chase Dr. Evil and to fit his free-love sensibilities into the high-tech, politically correct '90s.

The star and screenwriter is more a comedian than an actor, and more a creator of sketches than a crafter of scripts.

The result is an uneven semi-satire that inspires a few chuckles but even fewer honest belly-laughs.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

(PG-13; nudity, sex-related dialogue and humor)
Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Mimi Rogers.
Directed by Jay Roach.
87 minutes.
National Amusements, Showplace 8, Danbarry Middletown.
The movie is full of ideas that probably seemed much funnier on paper than they do on the screen, such as giving the villain a comically troubled son straight out of a movie of the week.

In almost every frame, the movie strives to parody the campiness of James Bond, The Avengers, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and similar swinging-spy fare.

Trouble is, the originals were such frivolous self-parodies that there's not much left to mock.

Austin Powers has to reach far beyond the original inspirations for its jokes and ends up dragging itself into pointless diversions.

Director Jay Roach seems helpless to rein in the addled antics of his star or to give the supporting cast much of a grip on what they're supposed to be doing.

That supporting cast contains some brilliant choices -- Robert Wagner and Michael York, for instance, and the horribly wasted Mimi Rogers.

All too briefly, she plays Austin's prefreeze Emma Peel-ish sidekick with a wicked, tantalizing glint in her eye.

Post-freeze, she's replaced by model Elizabeth Hurley, for whom the word ''mannequin'' describes not only a job but a state of being.

Mr. Myers is a charming guy, and he throws himself into the role with winning abandon.

To the extent that this overextended joke stays afloat, he's its life jacket.

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