“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”

How Austin's sausage got bitten.

Topics: Movies,

“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”
Directed by Jay Roach
Starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers
New Line Studios; full screen (1.33:1) and widescreen (1.90:1 aspect ratio)
Extras: Director and star commentary, deleted scenes including alternative endings, production notes, trailers, more

On the big screen, the first of Mike Myers’ Austin Powers projects, “International Man of Mystery,” was one of those puffy, candy-colored delights that nevertheless got dragged down a bit by its sluggish patches. But it’s one of those movies that play beautifully on DVD: The slow parts are much more forgivable on the small screen, and the movie’s hedonistically kitschy details whir by like pop-art pinwheels.

Myers has thought out the Powers character down to every tic, but the secret ingredient that makes Powers so appealing is the naughty-schoolboy kick that Myers gets out of being inside him. The costumes (fitted velvet jackets and striped trousers), the props (that heart-shaped thicket of hair on Austin’s chest) and the expressions (“Groovy, baby!”) have all earned a comfortable place in pop-culture consciousness because they have just the right balance of gentle mockery and admiration for ’60s swingerdom. They capture the fine line so many of us cross when we find ourselves giggling at pictures of parents or older siblings (or ourselves!) in groovy threads, only to suddenly begin wondering if we might be able to find a tailor who could create modern-day versions for us.

Elizabeth Hurley, with her glamour-schoolgirl charm, is a terrific foil for Myers; she’s the kind of actress who can pull off jumping up and down on a hotel bed in an evening gown and not make it seem like just a cute stunt. Austin needs her if he’s going to fend off the treacherous Dr. Evil (Myers again, with his Donald Pleasance chrome-dome and fake-monocle facial scar), if only because she looks so smashing in the silver-foil miniskirt outfit she sports late in the movie.



The extras here are goofy and toylike, great fun to flip through even if they don’t tell you much. The deleted scenes include two alternative endings, both of which feature Myers and Hurley afloat in an inflatable raft, Hurley wearing a delectable replica of Ursula Andress’ white “Dr. No” bikini. You’ll probably be happy director Jay Roach went with the ending he did, but both movie-fashion fans and red-blooded hetero males owe it to themselves to check out that bikini.

The commentary, by Roach and Myers, is a good example of how members of a filmmaking team can be very funny on film and stiff when they’re forced to talk about it. (And can you blame them? Dancing about architecture has to be harder when you actually know how to build the damn things.) In the best moments, Roach explains how Myers and Hurley pulled off the movie’s amazing, and beautifully orchestrated, sight gags (including Hurley’s taking a bite out of a sausage that conveniently covers Austin’s privates as he cavorts in the background). And Myers confesses extreme fondness for Mr. Bigglesworth, Dr. Evil’s hairless cat, played by a cat actor named, Myers tells us, Ted Nude-gent. “I loved that cat,” Myers burbles. “It was like holding somebody’s ass in your arms.” Oh, be-haave!

Stephanie Zacharek is a senior writer for Salon Arts & Entertainment.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>