Directed by: Jay Roach
Written by: Michael McCullers & Mike Myers
Starring: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Elizabeth Hurley
Getting a sequel typically comes from potential for more story, but most likely through the potential of more money being drawn out from the already existing characters. These sequels, unless already planned in an overall idea, lose part of what made the first of the series so special. In the case of The Spy Who Shagged Me, it becomes an inferior product that shows the decline of the series, but still has some fun moments of its own.
Now that Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) has returned to Earth, he decides that his new plan will be to go back into the past and steal Austin Power’s (Mike Myers) mojo in hopes that it would take away his effectiveness. Powers travels back to the past and with the help of Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) tries to get his mojo back and thwart Dr. Evil’s next world-ending plan.
Following up a classic like International Man of Mystery must have been difficult but the only person who could step up to the plate is Mike Myers. With this installment in the series, there does seem to be some tread on the wheels in how much comedy can be taken from these characters. The need to add some freshness comes from the addition of some characters. One being Heather Graham as Felicity Shagwell, whose name goes perfectly with the series because it has a sexual reference in it. Graham does well in the role but cannot reach the level of Elizabeth Hurley. Then you have Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) and Fat Bastard (Mike Myers). Both of them certainly have their comedic moments to shine, but everything seems a bit staler because it feels forced. The first movie had everything run so smoothly because we haven’t seen the Bond franchise parodied in such a way. Powers had a shock value that works so incredibly well when he sticks out of the crowd, but it does not have the same impact if you keep telling similar stories.
The film stays on the positive side for me because of how it attempts to get more ridiculous at each turn. That comes from the plot with Dr. Evil’s plan to steal Powers’s mojo, which unsurprisingly gets extracted from his penis. Extracting it takes away the motivation and sexual drive of Austin Powers, which makes it hard for him to enjoy life. Every time he gets the opportunity to have sex, he cannot physically do it because of his missing mojo. I’m sure there’s something in there about men and their confidence tied to their sexual virility. The rest of Dr. Evil’s plot centers on threatening the world with a large laser that he would blast from the moon. Something that would be seen in a James Bond film.
It may be hard to believe with the critical success of the recent Daniel Craig films, but the Bond franchise went through a real rough patch where their plots got more ridiculous and they essentially became cheesy films that got laughed at more than actual acclaim. These Austin Powers films provided even more context of their ridiculousness. From the title that parodies The Spy Who Loved Me and using plot points from Moonraker, this series continues to make fun Bond movies while also making better films. In fact, The Spy Who Shagged Me only made $49 million dollars less than the Bond movie that came out the same year, The World is Not Enough with $100 million less of a budget. It still blows my mind to this day that a parody film would make more of a profit than the huge franchise that happens to be its subject.
Plenty of gaffes to go around in this sequel, even with the jokes landing half as often as the first film. The Spy Who Shagged Me still remains a fun experience for me because it still has some of the charm, and the new characters add something fun to the mix at the very least. It’s a downgrade across the board but that happens most of the time with sequels to beloved films. It would be nice if they stopped here, but with the money these films kept making, the groovy train needed to continue.