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Mystery Men (1999)
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Review Date: August 15, 1999
Director: Kinka Usher
Writer: Neil Cuthbert
Producers: L. Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Mike Richardson
Actors:
Ben Stiller as Mr. Furious
William H. Macy as The Shoveler
Hank Azaria as The Blue Raja
Greg Kinnear as Captain Amazing
Geoffrey Rush as Cassanova Frankenstein
Plot:
Captain Amazing, the popular superhero known to have abolished crime in Champion City, decides to allow one of his biggest nemeses, Cassanova Frankenstein, out of the penitentiary, because he is losing his sponsors due to the lack of altercations left for him in the big city. Unfortunately for him, Cassanova has plans of his own, leaving it up to several up-and-coming, bumbling superheroes to attempt to save the day.
Critique:
Mostly enjoyable and colorful comic-book hero spoof, this movie was not as funny as I anticipated, but did offer enough original material and pretty eye-candy for yours truly to be amused during its entire showing. I am also a comic book collector myself, and appreciated many at the potshots taken at the comic-book genre (Most of the funniest stuff came from this premise). I also liked the whole concept of "disco" being integrated into the bad guys' theme, as well as the quirky special effects and the few surprises tossed in and around. The actors were all passable, with William H. Macy sticking out as the cream of their crop, but I did think Ben Stiller could have been a little funnier. Also, what's with Lena Olin taking that complete throwaway role as Cassanova's bimbo-du-jour (I still have dreams about her from ROMEO IS BLEEDING... :) Garofalo was darkly humorous as per usual.

All in all, I suppose they could have done much better with such a parody film, especially in the humor and action department, but then again, some of the stories that I had heard before this screening, had me expecting the worst as well. Geoffrey Rush for one, was a definite poor casting call, simply boring me as the bad guy. They could have gotten someone with a little more charisma. And surely the "identities" of each of the Mystery Men was not as inspirational as they could have been...I mean, I know it's a parody, but the "fork-guy"? C'mon! Having said that, I think that anyone who has ever had an interest in comic books, superheroes, or even movies based on either, will enjoy this movie for what it is: a goofy, wink-wink, over-the-top, special effects-laden comic-book spoof starring a whole bunch of name-actors having a blast! Not the best movie I've seen this summer, but definitely far from the worst. Warm your nachos, and grind right into them, cause these are the kind of movies for which nachos were indirectly invented.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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