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Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: Platinum Series

This writer — an unabashed fan of 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery — gave the sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, a spin and was given the uneasy sensation of deja vu — that is, if deja vu is a synonym for a carton of milk that's been left in the fridge for three months. Man of Mystery was a box-office underperformer but gained a second life on home video, and for good reason. Mike Myers found a novel bit of turf to chew on — the culture clash between'60s hedonism and '90s sensibilities, all set to backdrop of cheesy movies — and virtually every moment of the first Austin is a comic gem. But the movie also had a heart, because Austin was the underdog. He wasn't sexy, his "shag-me" banter was anachronistic foreplay, and the chick he wanted to get on the job, Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley), regarded him as a defrosted, bucktoothed buffoon. Yet Austin saved the world from Dr. Evil and got the girl, like we knew he would all along. However, in The Spy Who Shagged Me, Myers overlooks the elements that made his super-spy so sympathetic and instead coasts along as if he could turn in an Austin sequel on a line of credit. Our hero is only a mere cardboard-cutout of his former self, and relocated by time-travel to the '60s again, where he fits in just fine. There is no demure Vanessa character to hold Austin's attentions and reprove him when he goes awry; instead we get super-sexy American agent Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham), who's just as randy as Austin (and Vanessa is done away with in the first five minutes in a manner that renders the first film worthless in hindsight). Well-known gags from Man of Mystery are pulled from the microwave and served again (and again, and again, and again), leaving the genuinely funny moments to new characters Fat Bastard (Myers), Mini-Me (Verne J. Troyer), and a young Number Two (Rob Lowe, packing a dead-on impression of Robert Wagner). You may not care for Myers' newfound taste in potty humor, but I thought it was hilarious and one of the few surprises to be found here. Good transfer, DD 5.1, Platinum Series extras include a commentary track with Myers, director Jay Roach, and co-writer Michael McCullers, "behind-the-scenes" documentary, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, three music videos from Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, and Mel B, trailers for The Spy Who Shagged Me and International Man of Mystery, a secret page with Dr. Evil stuff (including the Comedy Central "documentary" The Dr. Evil Story), and lots of DVD-ROM content. Good street price, snap-case.

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