Thursday, 31 July 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #139: Flog That Dead Horse!

The undead corpse of New Line Cinema is scratching at the lid of its mouldy corporate coffin and is doing so by trying to revive one of the few successful franchises it had in recent years that didn't end in litigation. I'm talking about them giving the green light to Austin Powers 4.

Now I enjoyed the first one, and was amused by the second one, but I haven't really been able to get through the third one. It just couldn't hold my interest, and seemed to be repeating itself and going through the motions, even with Michael Caine trying to give it the proverbial kick in the pants as Austin's Pa, and Beyonce in tight, skimpy outfits.

And I'm not the only one. All the folks I know who dwell around my remote angry loner style shack in the woods felt similarly, and the strongest endorsement was a "It was all right, I guess."

In fact, I'm pretty sure that lackadaisical lack of interest was one of the key reasons Myers' last project The Love Guru sank so quickly into the toilet bowl of cinematic oblivion. It wasn't just the bad reviews, low-brow farcical comedies almost always get bad reviews, it was that folks just didn't think Myers was worth the price of admission, especially when there was so much else going on this summer.

And I think the problem Mike Myers has is Mike Myers.

Don't get me wrong, I was a fan back during his days in SNL, and remember fondly his time on the show, with Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, John Lovitz, and others, which was in my opinion the Golden Age of SNL for being so consistently funny.

But now he's MIKE MYERS THE BIG STAR, his every whim is to be catered to immediately under threat of hissy fit, and his every brain-fart treated as the golden nuggets of comedy sneezed forth from the nose of Jehova himself.

The evidence is obvious. Outside of the seemingly monthly droppings of Shrek sequels, he's only really played three live action parts in the past 10 years: Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and the Love Guru.

That's not healthy for any actor, and it's even worse for a character based comedian, which relies on variety, imagination, and surprise to be funny.

And look at the films themselves. He's not only the star, but the main writer, and all follow the same formula: Myers in crazy outfits and foreign accents, a hot chick co-star picked off the cover of People magazine, lots of nostalgia for the 60s comedies he saw on TV as a kid, toss in a few low brow jokes about poop and penises, stir and serve.

He's committed the most grievous sin any storyteller, especially a comedian, can commit, he's become predictable.

He's in a rut, and now it's costing him.

So what does he plan to do?

More of the same old same old.

It's a shame, because I think he's got more funny in him, it just has to be dug out.

My advice: Myers should put any Austin Powers revival on the back burner, or in the shredder. He should take parts in movies that he doesn't write or otherwise control, be a working actor for a while, dwell among the common folks if you will, even if it's in Malibu, and try to remember why he got into this crazy business in the first place.


  1. I laughed at the first Austin Powers movie, but I was ashamed for doing so. The second movie I didn't laugh quite so much and I was even more ashamed for doing so. The third...I din't laugh much at all.

    Mike Myers has always seemed a bit forced to me. A bit over the top, if you will. I think you're right that it would do him good to take a "real" acting job for a year or two.

    As for secret agent satire...I like me some good old fashioned Matt Helm. Derek Flint is pretty good, too.

  2. Oh! I should mention that the things that made me laugh in all three movies had more to do with the supporting characters than those portrayed my Mr Myers.

    Robert Wagner as Number 1 was outstanding. A truly beautiful job as a straight man. Mindy Sterling as Frau whateverhernamewas got a few laughs as well. The times I really laughed at Mike Myers was when he was interacting with his son Scott (Seth Green).

  3. There was a 3rd Austin Powers movie?