Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me may not have been half the unexpectedly enjoyable romp of the original, but it doubled the character's pop culture prominence and the vernacular use of the phrases "Yeah, baby!" and "Do I make you horny?" In fact, rarely has there been such a widely mimicked film icon as Austin Powers, even if the most inspired bits from these films concern the fey supervillain Dr. Evil, also played by Mike Myers. It's a testament to the blind affection accorded this franchise that the sequel's most celebrated character is Mini Me, played by the vertically challenged Verne Troyer, who turned into such a stature-defying popular curiosity that he became the shortest man since Tom Cruise to get so much work. Audiences were so giddy to plunk themselves back into that free-lovin' world of shagadelic goofiness, they didn't even notice that many of the jokes were essentially repeated, or that the improvisation level was shockingly high. All that mattered was Myers returning in both brilliant roles, plus a third (the sweaty Fat Bastard), and Heather Graham filling the eye-candy role vacated by Elizabeth Hurley. The movie hits its funniest strides when reveling in its anachronistic cultural references, such as Dr. Evil covering Will Smith's paternal ode "Just the Two of Us," or aping Jerry Maguire by telling his miniature self, "You complete me." Capable of enormous feats at the box office, as well as getting incredible mileage from kitsch, the Austin Powers series should be healthy for as long as Myers wants to continue coining catch phrases.
by Derek Armstrong review