You can't embarrass him!
It isn't easy to pin down Myers' brand of humour. His chameleon-like ability to impersonate characters has earned him the title, `The Brando of Comedy,' writes PRADEEP SEBASTIAN.
The third instalment of Austin Powers, ``Austin Powers in Goldmember,'' is no patch on the original.
THAT SWINGING, dentally challenged International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers, is back, baby! But wait. Before you say Yeah baby yeah! You should know that this sequel has lost its mojo. Mike Myers once defined mojo as libido or the right stuff. But the secret of Austin Powers' mojo is not his insatiable libido but a quality of joy that his creator, Mike Myers, brings to the role. And, baby, is it infectious. But now, in this new sequel, it looks like his archrival, Dr.Evil, who stole Austin's mojo in the first sequel, has done it again! Because "Goldmember" isn't half as funny and inspired as the original.
Having created the Austin character, Myers doesn't seem to know how to expand him in the sequels. Dr. Evil fares better. He is square as Austin is swinging, as greedy as Austin is freedom loving and as incompetent as, well, as Austin is incompetent. And the only really funny bits in the movie are the exchanges between him and his son, Scotty, with Dr. Evil shushing his son before he can speak up. But for all the disappointment, it is always a treat to watch Austin do his shagadelic stuff. With his tombstone teeth, an alarmingly hairy chest, dull, government issue spectacles and his crushed Sixties cranberry-coloured velvet suit he's here to take us back to the swinging 1950s and 1970s. This time in Tokyo! Not London.
So what's new in this third instalment? Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Gwyneth Paltrow and John Travolta - that's what. They all put in cameos here because they adore Myers' creation, Austin. Plus, apart from the usual suspects Mini Me, Scott, Fat Bastard, Number 2 there are three new characters: a new villain called Goldmember (a take off on Goldfinger), Sir Nigel Powers, Austin's long-last father played by Michael Caine, and a new babe who goes by the name of Foxy Cleopatra.
In the first "Austin Powers," he entered the 90s with all his 60s accoutrements in tow: groovy lingo, hip-dislocating dances, judo chops and a love of all turn-ons no matter how inappropriate. In the sequel that followed, "The Spy Who Shagged Me," the censors forced Austin to oh behave! By cutting out the shag word. But did he, baby, did he? No way. You can't embarrass Austin Powers because he is embarrassment itself. He makes embarrassment cool. Comedians like Eddie Murphy keep their rock star cool and get their laughs embarrassing others. Myers, like his idol, Peter Sellers, takes embarrassment upon himself and makes comedy out of it by taking it to an extreme.
It isn't easy to pin down his brand of humour. It's both silly and intelligent. Myers' chameleon-like ability to impersonate a variety of characters has earned him the title, `The Brando of Comedy.' A Canadian, his pukka English accent for Austin is pitch-perfect. The Austin character is based on several British movie characters. "It's true," says Myers, " the British won the war but lost their teeth. That forest of hair on Austin's chest is modelled after Sean Connery's and those National Health Service glasses are the kind Michael Caine and Peter Sellers wore to play spies."
The "Austin" movies are full of silly badinage, much of it double entendres, toilet humour and sexual innuendoes such as: "Austin Powers, I presume?" asks the lollipop luscious Heather Graham, seated next to our man in his Shaguar. "Powers by name and Powers by reputation," replies Austin, flashing tombstone teeth. "Felicity Shagwell, CIA," says the blonde,
"Shagwell by name, Shag very well by reputation." Oh, behave! Powers seizes up the villains at the casino table and boldly proceeds to introduce himself. Powers: "Allow myself to introduce...uh...myself." The sinister man with the eye patch: "I am No. 2." The sexy bimbo next to No.2: "And I am Alotta Fagina." Powers: Excuse me? I thought you...er... said..." Myers' brand of humour first surfaced in "Wayne's World."
Myers first invented the two hip goofballs Wayne Campbell, played by Myers himself and Garth Elgar, played by the equally funny Dana Carvey on his "Saturday Night Live" show and then went on to turn it into the cult movie it became. It introduced us to Wayne-isms like: "Exsqueeze me?" and ``Not!" as in "We are definitely going to do that. Not!" It's even harder to describe Carvey's Garth. He's a dweeb, a dork, a geek. Together they are heavy metal mascots headbangers. A typical exchange between the duo will go like this: Wayne: That Cassandra is a fox. Garth: Yeah, she's a babe. Wayne: In Latin, she would be called Babio Majora. Garth: Yeah, and if she was the President she'd be called Baberaham Lincoln.
On Austin, obscenities and sexual innuendoes are funny, even cute in the same way we find it cute and funny when children sometimes mouth obscenities without knowing what they mean. There is a sweetness and innocence about Powers. Watching this swinging, switched on, dentally challenged English playboy spy can cheer you up no end.
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