AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME
AUSTIN POWERS 2
The main complaint about the sequel would be that it lacks the satiric focus of the original. This time the plot is not making such a pointed parodistic attack on the outmodedness of the James Bond Swinging Superstud image in the 1990s and so its humour tends to be stretched between a handful of individual set-pieces that are funny in themselves but not thematically connected. The joke of Dr Evil using modern colloquialisms in the past is far less funny than the gag of using 1960s colloquialisms in the present was in the first film. The jokes referring to the Death Star, the Alan Parsons Project and involving scenes from Independence Day (1996) fall flat because we have had films doing the cultural in-references thing to the point that it has become tedious. The relationship between Dr Evil and his son, with the son sarcastically deflating the fathers grandiose world-conquering schemes, was one of the most amusing satiric aspects of the original but is not as sharply honed a gag this time around although, there is a witty gag with the son turning up on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show entitled Parents Who Want to Conquer the World.
Nevertheless, the film does compensate with a number of amusingly original gags of its own. A substantial part of the show is stolen by the two new characters Verne Troyer as a demented dwarf clone of Dr Evil and Mike Myers, who besides playing both Austin Powers and Dr Evil again, turns up as a 400+ pound Scottish cannibal. There is a terribly adolescent but nevertheless highly funny gag with silhouettes on a tent wall and another gag (which continues on after the credits have finished) with an assassin who falls over a cliff. There are also a number of satirical gags aimed at everything from Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) to Back to the Future (1985) and of course the Bond films once again the theme song is a witty satire of Shirley Basseys title track for Goldfinger (1964); there is an amusing cross-dressing take on Ursula Andresss famous bikinied entrance on the beach from Dr No (1962); while the assassin on the cliff gag reminds of For Your Eyes Only (1981).
There are times the gags do get a little precious. When Austin is about to travel back in time and starts to question the temporal continuity problems and Michael York replies with an I suggest you dont let it worry you, before turning direct to the camera and telling the audience And that you dont either, where it becomes a gag whose meta-fictional obviousness is solely being used to sweep plot complexities under the carpet.
One of the most amusing aspects of the film was its trailer, which opened on a Death Star-lookalike sequence and the line If you see one film this summer go and see Star Wars. However, if you see two movies this summer, see Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The great irony of this is that, while it was an ad campaign that clearly expected that The Spy Who Shagged Me would be sitting in the shadow of the vast box-office attendance that everybody expected Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) would take up that summer, it in fact has emerged the other way around with Austin Powers having knocked The Phantom Menace from its No 1 spot in the week it opened.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was further followed by Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), by which time the originals charms were starting to wear thin.