In June, when The Love Guru was about to hit theaters and annoy the 12 or so people who actually saw it, I wrote a rant about Mike Myers parlaying the success of Austin Powers to make an unoriginal movie. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about The Love Guru that's so repulsive,” I wrote. “Is it the sight of Myers, 11 years after Austin Powers, giving us essentially the same humor and expecting us to find it fresh?”

Apparently Myers’ answer to that is “Hell yeah, and you’re getting even more where that came from!” Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that Myers and New Line are working on an Austin Powers 4. ”There's no deal in place yet but New Line is panting after No. 4,” writes Nikki Finke, provoking both a repulsive mental image and pity for a studio that thinks this is a good idea.

The success of the Austin Powers movies helped turn New Line into a huge Hollywood player, before Lord of the Rings made them practically a major studio for a few years. It makes sense that the studio, having been downsized and absorbed by Warner Bros., might want to reclaim some of that old glory. But seriously, there is none of that old glory left. Even if this fourth movie promises to focus on Dr. Evil, as Finke suggests, the diminishing returns of the second and third Austin Powers movies indicate that, even with a six-year break, Myers doesn’t have anything new to add.

It seemed that after The Love Guru tanked we might be spared an Austin Powers 4, given how thoroughly the public rejected Myers this time around. If he’s going to retain the few fans he has left, he’s going to have to come up with something new, something that feels as fresh as he did in the early 90s. Beating the dead horse of the Austin Powers franchise is absolutely not the way to do it.

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