I can't remember exactly what inspired me to pick up Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at my local blockbuster at some point after I graduated from middle school. At that point I was only vaguely aware of which movies were hits and which were not, and if I or my friends hadn't seen it, it may as well have not existed. But because I decided to rent it, and because I was one of the first people I knew who saw it and loved it, Austin Powers came to define part of who I was, in those dark, awkward days of early high school.
For my birthday one year, my friends gave me a Dr. Evil action figure. At a junk market in Myrtle Beach, I haggled with a vendor for an Austin Powers day calendar. The summer Austin Powers 2 came out, I went to camp and taught everyone the Dr. Evil version of the Macarena, and eventually adopted my own Mini-Me. The pictures of the two of us, biting our pinkies and staring evilly into space, inspire a weird combination of nostalgia and deep, deep shame.
Because, of course, five years after the first Austin Powers surprised and delighted millions of people like me who discovered it on VHS, Mike Myers drove the whole thing into the ground with Goldmember, which even I realized at the time was a gigantic mess. And with that, the romance was over. Mike Myers was no longer this inspirational comedy god, but some shameless huckster who was milking us for all we were worth, recycling the same jokes and hoping we wouldn't notice. You know, the kind of guy who would make Wayne Campbell wanna spew.
So when I see the ads for The Love Guru and instinctively flinch, it both makes me happy that I've grown up and learned my lesson about Mike Myers, and sad that someone who gave me so much is now punishing me for ever liking him to begin with. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about The Love Guru that's so repulsive. Is it the rampant racism? The sight of Mike Myers playing himself as a little boy by having his head CGIed onto a child's body? Or just the sight of Myers, 11 years after Austin Powers, giving us essentially the same humor and expecting us to find it fresh?
I'm not going to see The Love Guru this weekend. I just can't bear it. I don't wish Myers had just disappeared after the third Austin Powers debacle, but I wish he'd make some effort to ramp up his comedy, change things and take chances instead of playing off the successes of an earlier decade. No matter how successful you become as a comedian, you can't be lazy—thus the growing Will Ferrell backlash as we watch him play the same character in every movie. Guru Pitka may be a brand-new "wacky" Myers character, but beneath the surface, it's all a rehash of what we've seen before. I'll stick with Austin, where the power of nostalgia and happy memories can overcome all the disappointments that have come since we first learned the word "Shagadelic."
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend
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