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“Sexual innuendo, crude humor, and language” declared the M.P.A.A. when awarding “Austin Powers in Goldmember” its PG-13 rating- but what they forgot to mention is it’s inspired lunacy, it’s madcap adventure, over-the-top visual invention- or it’s delicious comic intelligence.

Austin Powers intelligent-you ask? You can’t be serious. Ah, But we can! Because the smarter you are, and the more words you have in your vocabulary, the funnier this movie gets. Says director Jay Roach, “We just never imagined people going around repeating catch phrases over and over or taking on the vibe of Austin Powers, but that became a tremendous part of the word of mouth success. It’s really all about Mike’s contagious energy and contagious language-that’s the best explanation.” Shagadelic, surely!

And what about the lore of the spy thriller and the great homage Austin Powers pays to that tradition? Save The World, old chap, and of course, Win The Girl? After all, isn’t Austin just the unzipped-up, or just unzipped, James Bond? “We both loved the spy spoof movies and the James Bond, “Our Man Flint”, Matt Helm movies,” says Director of Photography Peter Deming, “and they all have a sense of style.” In fact both the opening sequence of the film, a brilliant parody of Bond’s “Octopussy” here called “Austin Pussy” and the choice of Michael Caine as the original International Man of Mystery, Austin’s father Nigel Powers fit that bill perfectly. Mike Myers actually studied Caine’s character Harry Palmer in the Ipswich File, a series of popular British thrillers released in the 60’s. “It’s my glasses from Harry Palmer that Mike Myers copied” when creating the original personae of Austin,” says Caine.

“Nigel Powers is even more Austin than Austin”, says Jay Roach. He’s like Dean Martin meets Englebert Humperdink with a little Tom Jones and Sean Connery thrown in—he’s like an English Hugh Hefner, and Austin is a chip off the old block. Nigel has the same teeth, the same glasses, and even though we don’t see him with his shirt off, you just know there’s a full chest of hair under there”. Says Caine, “The first time you see Nigel he’s on the bed with four women, so you get the idea he’s a ladies man right from the start” When Austin asks him why he’s acting so strangely, Nigel responds, “I took a viagra pill and it got stuck in my throat and my neck’s been stiff for hours.” / Issue 25 - September 2018
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