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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 movie in which Mike Myers plays a Bond-esque British spy transported from the Swinging London era of the 1960s to the relatively austere 1990s to foil the world-destroying schemes of Dr. Evil, also played by Mike Myers. The humor rooted in sexual innuendo is almost nonstop -- in addition to Powers constantly talking about wanting to "shag" women, there are sight gags in which nudity is covered by objects or other body parts at just the right place and just the right time, seemingly endless euphemisms for genitalia, and a female antagonist named "Alotta Fagina." A Swedish sex device that's supposed to be a pump that enlarges a man's penis is a recurring gag. The violence is of the comedic pratfall variety: Powers leaps into his convertible only to hit himself in the groin with his gearshift, one of Dr. Evil's security guards is dipped into a body of water with vicious sea bass and emerges decapitated, many of Evil's henchmen are flipped from their chairs and killed in a flaming pit below them. There is some profanity, including "s--t," "bastard," and "blow me." Flatulence and defecation-themed humor abound. Robot mod women shoot bullets and poison gas from their breasts. Expect some glamorization of casual sex and Mmntion of the '60s drug culture.
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What's the story?
In AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY, the insidious Dr. Evil (Mike Myers in a dual role) foils his swinging British adversary Austin Powers (Mike Myers) by escaping 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 30 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 (which was followed by 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 snatched 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ways in which Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a parody of the British spy movies and TV shows of the 1960s. In what ways does it directly spoof, say, James Bond movies? How does it spoof the 1960s?
Do you think the movie spoofs the way women were often objectified in James Bond movies, or do you think it could have done more to show that Powers' attitudes were no longer acceptable in "the future"?
What are some other movie genres and styles that have been parodied?
For kids who love to laugh
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