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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> June 1999 >> Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
2 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
June 1999
IMDB Name:
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
M. Jay Roach
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for sexual innuendo and crude humor.


In a movie such as this, the only truly important question is "did you laugh?" Yes. I laughed. There were some very funny moments in The Spy Who Shagged Me. Picture Dr. Evil and Scott on "Jerry Springer". Picture the first time that Dr. Evil and his one-eighth size clone "Mini-Me" say "laser". Picture chess as foreplay. I laughed a lot.

I must also say, though, that there were many spots where the absence of laughter was palpable. The editing left room for laughs that weren't forthcoming in many, many places. There were probably just as many jokes that were understood but not found funny as there were those that just weren't understood. I can't imagine that they were really pitching the jokes too high, given the level of the jokes they did use, leaning heavily on bodily humor and strained recyclings of the jokes that went over well in the first movie.

Rereading that last paragraph, I should explain myself. Bodily humor done well is fantastic. The urination scene from the first movie was hilarious. There's Something About Mary not only made the unspeakable a topic of discussion, but did so in a clever setting and with fantastic comic execution. I'm not universally down on this type of comedy, but I prefer it when it's done with appreciation for other structural elements of good comedy.


No, tragically, I don't mean to say that the second entry in the Austin Powers franchise rules. I mean instead to say that it was made without rules. One excellent approach to comedy is to establish rigid rules and then frustrate the characters as they tried to follow them. In Austin Powers, we had two characters who played by a rule book that was thirty years out of date. It didn't hurt that the rule book also included the contents of the james-bond series that so many know so well.

So what do we get on the second go? Characters who don't provide enough tension, for a start. Heather Graham is introduced as Felicity Shagwell, an American agent from the sixties helping Austin. Her instant willingness to go all the way takes the fun out of any courtship the two would have engaged in.

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Copyright 1999-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.