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An 'Austin'-Powered Weekend--Yeah, Baby!
Unless you've been, say, cryogenically frozen for the past few weeks, you know the ever-groovy Austin Powers is back this weekend in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, a sequel to the fab 1997 flick Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
The suddenly ubiquitous dentally challenged, shag-lovin' superspy is on billboards, airplanes (Virgin Atlantic), computers (Sierra's Austin Powers trivia game), innumerable magazine covers (including furless feline Mr. Bigglesworth gracing the cover of Cats), heck, he's even on ice (Mott's Austin Powers Shagadelic Shakers cocktail mixers) in a marketing blitz second only to The Phantom Menace. There are Powers-powered ads for Heineken (Grab a Heiney, you bet, baby!), Philips electronics, Jaguar (make that Shaguar), AOL, Volkswagen and Starbucks, in addition to a Madonna-fueled soundtrack, the requisite dolls, posters, boxers and, yes, a "novelty gift Swedish enlarger."
Perhaps most importantly to the mojo of the film's makers, the new Austin Powers is playing in a record 3,312 theaters (for you counting at home, that's two more than last summer's Godzilla). If this weekend lives up to the hype, the sequel could make more than the $54 million the original earned during its entire 1997 run. (The movie didn't really become a certifiable hit until it came out on video--it has sold a whopping 3 million copies accounting for another $44 million and still occupies a slot in the Top 10 bestsellers.) The Spy Who Shagged Me seems a sure bet to dethrone reigning champ The Phantom Menace.
Yeah, baby! Indeed.
The film finds our fave man of mystery (Mike Myers) traveling back in time to the swingin' '60s to reclaim his libido-enriching mojo from the nefarious Dr. Evil (also Myers). Along the way he teams up with fellow mod spy Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) and faces off against potent henchmen, including the diminutive Mini-Me (Verne Troyer), a clone-gone-wrong of Dr. Evil, and the grotesque Scotsman Fat Bastard (still more Myers).
The signs are pointing to a Powers-ful box-office run. Thursday night sneak previews sold out across the country. And movie reviewers--a group that wasn't particularly kind to the skit-based, Airplane!-like humor of the first Austin Powers--are digging the new installment:
As Austin himself might say: "That's shagadelic, baby!"
June 11, 1999
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