Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is a near constant barrage of sexual innuendo in this James Bond spoof. Parents may find the vulgar laughs and sight gags inappropriate for 'tweens, but 13-year-old and older kids will probably laugh all the way through it.
What's the story?
The insidious Dr. Evil foils his swinging British adversary Austin Powers (Mike Myers in a dual role) by escaping the in a spaceship and having himself cryogenically frozen. Powers does what one would expect of the world's greatest -- and most shagadelic -- gentleman spy: He has himself frozen as well, to be thawed out thirty years later, in 1997, and pick up the chase where it left off. A relic of the swinging '60s, Powers is thawed out in the age of AIDS to stop Dr. Evil from destroying the world. With sexy agent Miss Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley) at his side, Powers acclimates to a world without free love while attempting to thwart Dr. Evil, who has stolen a nuclear warhead and is holding the world ransom for ... one hundred billion dollars!
Is it any good?
If you're looking for wry humor and sophistication, you're simply looking in the wrong place. AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY (followed by the 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember) is the sort of comedy you expect from ex-Saturday Night Live cast members (on the level of Dana Carvey's Opportunity Knocks).
Anyone who's seen Goldfinger will recognize the crony Oddjob parodied here as Random Task, or Alotta Fagina substituting for the Bond vixen Pussy Galore. The Dr. Evil character, complete with bald head and hairless cat, are snitched from the opening of For Your Eyes Only. If your tastes generally run a bit more highfalutin than this, find a teenager of your own to supply the laugh track; it completes the experience, and might even make it a worthwhile one.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about media portrayals of women and how the young women in their family view themselves. How do they balance the pressure from society to be sexy with their own desires to be a well-rounded person? Do they like the way Vanessa Kensington handles herself in the face of Austin's constant come-ons? How would they handle themselves? Families may also want to discuss with their teenagers the two approaches to sex the film presents: free love 1960s-style vs. the more uptight 1990s. Which style would teens choose today, and what are the consequences of each? Families may want to discuss the importance of abstinence or safe sex, depending on their moral beliefs.