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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Year: 1997
Studio: New Line
Director: Jay Roach
Producer: Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, Demi Moore, Mike Myers
Writer: Mike Myers
Cast: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Seth Green, Robert Wagner, Rob Lowe, Tom Arnold, Carrie Fisher, Mindy Sterling, Will Ferrell

The Austin Powers movies have matured and morphed (some jokes cast aside, some of the plot built upon and some forgotten) so much since this movie there seems to have been more than just three of them. It's a strength of the deceptively simple premise that has spawned one of the best comedy franchises of recent times. Broadly a sweeping parody of James Bond, it has extra flourishes of being set around a spy from a stylised swinging 60s.

After Austin Powers' (Myers) nemesis, Dr Evil (Myers), escapes capture by blasting into earth orbit, Austin agrees to be cryogenically frozen in case Dr Evil ever returns to threaten the Earth with his hare brained schemes of destruction. Evil returns with a vengeance in the late 90s and Austin is thawed out.

The kernel of a fish out of water comedy ensues – in this case, that of a 1960s free-love loving spy from swinging London trying to get along in the paranoid 90s. In later installments it's easy to forget the idea was the original basis for the comedy.

He immediately falls for the daughter of his original squeeze, fellow spy Vanessa (Hurley) and they hunt down the Evil doctor as he contends with problems of his own such as the general ineptitude in his Evil organisation and sudden appearance of son Scott (Green), the black sheep of the Evil family.

Most of the jokes that continue to succeed in the series are here, various stars provide some funny cameos and while it stumbled occasionally, a classic was already in the making.

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