Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #783: The Franchise Who Shagged Your Expectations

I remember the 1990s when Mike Myers literally ruled the kingdom of comedy. Wayne's World was a huge hit, it's sequel, forced upon him by the studio tanked on just about every level, but when he came out with Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery he was back on top. He followed that with a sequel that did even bigger business, and after that a third film, which did okay financially, but everyone agreed that the franchise was out of steam.

Well, not everyone exactly, because Warner Bros./New Line is in talks with Mike Myers to do Austin Powers 4.

Personally, I don't think Myers should do it. The premise is done and dusted, and has been for almost 10 years.

But when I cast the cold calculating eye of business upon this story, I fear that Myers may not have a choice in the matter.

You see Myers only appeared in 1 live action movie since 2002's
Austin Powers in Goldmember, and that was the Love Guru which was a disaster on just about every level. Which leads to Myers' greatest career fumble.

You see Myers refuses to star in any live action film where he is not the dominant player. He has to write the script, produce the movie, and have a director who knows full well that this is a Mike Myers show and that whatever Mike Myers says goes.

Of course you operate that way, without any editorial input from anyone, and you end up with The Love Guru.

Now he has a case to be made for doing things this way. He sees himself as a comedy auteur in complete control of his vision and not a gun for hire funnyman. Also, when he did act as a gun for hire funnyman he ended up in the creative abortion known as The Cat In The Hat.

So professionally he's boxed in a corner. His lone-wolf career plan, the fizzling out of the overworked Shrek franchise, and his failure to heed the advice I offered in May, have left him with few options. He's basically got to take a million to one gamble that he can flog that dead horse one more time and make him relevant again.

Alas, I fear, the only people who believe that's possible are him and what's left of New Line. The whole endeavor is riddled with traps, especially when it comes to audience expectations.

Myers doing a live action movie is an event, because he doesn't do them very often. That creates expectations, high expectations, and when he failed to come even close to meeting the basic requirements of entertainment with The Love Guru, it badly tainted him and his brand. Austin Powers was a beloved character, and if his career was in different shape, the potential of a new movie would be greeted with high expectations. Now, in the aftermath of The Love Guru, AP4 now looks like a desperate money grab by yet another celebrity whose ego wrote checks that his talent could cash.

Those are not good expectations for any movie to have, because you need to create a work of Earth-shattering genius to overcome them. I fear that Myers might not have that in him.


  1. I have to say I am one of the great unwashed who didn't even like Austin Powers that much, except for Dr. Evil. Every time the hero came on the screen, I winced. So for me Myers antics have never really worked out.

  2. It had its moments, but not really worthy the constant repeats on basic cable, and probably not worth another sequel.