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Mystery Men 1999

A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a supervillian threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city...

Release Date:
August 6, 1999
Duration:
121 min
Cast:
Geoffrey Rush, Ben Stiller, Corbin Bleu, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Joel McCrary, Doug Jones, Gerry Becker, Tom Waits, Greg Kinnear, Hank Azaria, Ricky Jay, Claire Forlani, Jenifer Lewis, Mason Lucero, Branden Williams, Félix Castro, Adrian Armas, Michael Chieffo, Billy Beck, Luis Guzmán, Ned Bellamy, Monet Mazur, Dane Cook, Sung Kang, Eddie Izzard, Emmy Laybourne, Paul Reubens, Jack Plotnick, Artie Lange, Philip Bolden, Lena Olin, Kiyoko Yamaguchi, Larkin Campbell, Marie Matiko, Stacey Travis, Shane Johnson, Jennifer Lee Keyes, Gichi Gamba, Wes Studi, Michael Bay, Jonathan Khan, Steven Jang, Lucas Meyers, Dana Gould, Ungela Brockman, Riki Rachtman, Louise Lasser, Joann Richter, Vince Melocchi, Jason 'Jake' Cross, Christopher Mugglebee, Kel Mitchell, Eiko Nijo, Oliver Clark, Noah Blake, Big Gipp, James C. Duke, Dawn Marie Warnock, Pras, John Brantley Cole, Solo Scott, Michael Craig, Ernie Lee Banks, Nancye Ferguson, Angelica Bridges, Vylette Fagerholm, Olivia Lauren Todd, Frederick Usher, Kinka Usher, Gayle Vance, Thomas Lake, Robert Musselman, Erik Michael Tristan, Kimberly James, Andreea Radutoiu, T-Mo, CeeLo Green, Khujo, Gil Christner, Carl Strand, Robert Chow, Sasha Bray, Sunny Görg, Jody Watley, Margaret Wheeler, Robert P. Lieb, Florence Stone Fevergeon, Sarah Kane, Ed Denette, Nori T. Gehr, Kiko Kiko, Mark Mothersbaugh, Katie Adams, Shirley Bowden, Helen Etting, Lu Gay, Valerie Gitter, Mac Greenstein, C. Elane Innes, Irene Kamsler, Miriam R. Lawless, Teresa MacLean, Joanne McDermott, Crystal Gaer White, Vincent Bowman, Aaron Priest, Robert B. Martin Jr., Gabrielle Conforti, Jeff Z. Danziger, Wilbert Sampson, Kenneth W. Watts, Elliot Durant III, Anthony Marinelli, Drinda E. Shaneyfelt, Ronald Lasky, David Still, Jerry Farmer, Cody Kurz, Michael Craig ...
Genres:
Comedy, Action, Fantasy ...
Country:
USA

Your rating: 0

Solar rating: 4.9

5

Imdb rating: 6

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Ben Stiller's character was beyond annoying i know that was sort of the idea and supposed to make the movie more funny but it just made me aggravated. Other than that there was a few funny parts i rate this movie 6/10.
I understand the Batmanesque style and this being a spoof, and the premise of it sounds perfect, even the dialogue is brilliant in parts; yet somehow, this film, despite the amazing cast, just doesn’t deliver; what was meant to inspire laughter, nope...
Eddie Izzard kept me from walking away after 30min.
5/10 for effort and disco dancing.
I am a ticking time bomb of fury.

I *must* rent this movie and watch it again. Wonder if I can dl it anywhere...
More Garafolo-Stiller-Azaria collaborations! Paul Rubens can come too, I guess.
If only MYSTERY MEN had stayed as it was in the beginning, a parody of BATMAN AND ROBIN... I really liked all the stuff with Captain Amazing and Greg Kinnear should have been put to better use.

Unfortunately, once the focus shifts to the "misfit" superhero team, the movie falters. A potentially hilarious concept is only hit-or-miss... but it was, in the end, BETTER than BATMAN AND ROBIN. Hank Azaria was the best part of the movie, in a very good comedic performance. If only the script had been better...

But CHOCOLAT was surprisingly good. I didn't expect much of it, considering the backlash around here... "worst Best Picture nominee," and whatnot. It was a sweet little movie, to be sure. I understand why it was nominated. Sure, there were better films that year (Almost Famous, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) but as I recall, it was a pretty lousy year for film.

Juliette Binoche carries the film, of course, though I didn't find anything Best Actress-nomination worthy in her performance. Judi Dench and Alfred Molina are, as always, wonderful. And Johnny Depp does well in a small role-- almost a cameo, really.
Mystery Men (1999)

Clever yet unmoving at times, this comedic spoof begins as some sort of avant-garde eye candy with lovely futuristic art direction but without any real momentum. Luckily, an uber-talented cast and some really great gags make the anti-super super hero saga pick up faster than a speeding bullet. Geoffrey Rush has now been named my master of fun villainy and the delight to see him on screen is second only to seeing William H. Macy as the anti-hero turned hero, the Shoveller. Also welcoming is Paul Reubens' Pee Wee laugh, although his silent but violent and sometimes flaming super human power (or oddity) certainly confirms this delight's demographic, if not its sole audience.

The plot goes that ChampionCity's finest super hero, Captain Amazing -- played by an appropriately cast Greg Kinnear, - has done too fine a job. His waning publicity resulting from the lack of super villains to fight prompts him to arrange the parole of one arch nemesis, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush), only to be captured by him soon after. Casanova quickly teams up with his old gang of disco-dancing dynamos, including the great Eddie Izzard as Tony P., and begins construction of a machine that will destroy the city. With Captain Amazing subdued the fate of ChampionCity rest in the hands of some not-so-super super hero wannabes: Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), The Shoveller (William H. Macy), and eventually: The Spleen (Paul Reubens), The Invisible Kid (Ken Mitchell), The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo), the Sphinx (Wes Studi), and Dr. A. Heller (Tom Waits), weapons extraordinaire.

Even if comic books, superheroes, or parodies are not your cup of tea, the cast alone is enough to warrant a viewing (although being a fan of at least one of the three will make the experience more enjoyable) while the art design makes it amusing. Although some very clich
Mystery Men is the sort of irreverent genre-spoof I usually admire, a comedy about superheroes that does not take the action too seriously and is focused more on lampooning the conventions of its genre while still following them. Yet the film is so disorganized and inconsistent that it failed to win me over, despite the fact that there are several very funny sequences sprinkled throughout. The central premise of the film is very amusing: the heroic Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) arranges the release of his arch-enemy Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) so that he may stage yet another triumphant victory over the villain, only to have the tables turned when he is captured by Casanova. With the city's principal do-gooder captured, a group of seven bumbling superheroes (who had previously been relegated to obscurity by Captain Amazing's prolific achievements) must join together and free Captain Amazing while fighting the forces of evil. The opening scenes of Mystery Men are quite entertaining, particularly since Greg Kinnear is both charming and obnoxiously overconfident as Captain Amazing. The "Mystery Men" (the name of the inept superheroes) are an odd group: there is the Shoveller (William H. Macy), the Spleen (Paul Reubens) and Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), among others. As their names would suggest, these superheroes have different powers than we have come to expect from the likes of Superman. Mystery Men milks some humour from the shortcomings of its heroes, but eventually the gags begin to feel forced, and the film's frenetic pace grows tiresome. It is difficult to care about the action scenes, because we know that everything is a joke, which robs the film of any suspense. Worse, the movie is not particularly successful in its effort to satirize the superhero genre, and after the promising opening, it begins to become flat and uninteresting. The actors playing the Mystery Men are all adept at comedy, and understand how to generate laughs without straining for effect. Yet as it drags on and becomes more frenzied and incoherent, Mystery Men makes the mistake of believing it should entertain us with special-effects and action when what we are craving is more witty asides and pointed satire. It is interesting that Mystery Men succeeds to some degree at lampooning the superhero genre, but it fails magnificently as an extension of that genre...and its inept handling of the action sequences undermines the occasional comic brilliance.

(BASIC)


Plot Synopsis: A trio of super-hero-wanna-bes get involved in a major super hero conflict when they spy Champion City's premiere super-hero, Captain Amazing, being kidnapped by his arch-nemesis Cassanova Frankenstein. They bolster their ranks by getting together a full fledged team, and proceed to fight the forces of evil.

Acting: When this reviewer first heard of this movie, what it was and what it was attempting to do, and then saw the cast list my reaction was probably very similar to many peoples' out there. William H. Macy?! Greg Kinnear?! Geoffrey Rush??!??!?!! I was absolutely amazed, and also excited. And, I wasn't disappointed. The acting in this film is quite good. William H. Macy delivers as The Shoveller, a straight-laced family man who just wants to use his talent for shovelling to better his fellow man; Greg Kinnear is hilarious as Captain Amazing, the smarmy, scene hogging, corporate sponsored premiere hero of Champion City; and Geoffrey Rush gives his usual very strong performance as the arch-villian Cassanova Frankenstein. The other actors are primarily comedians who play themselves - Ben Stiller does the usual Ben Stiller thing as Mr. Furious, Janeane Garofalo is pretty much just herself as The Bowler, and Paul Reubens delivers a very Pee-Wee-Herman-esque turn as The Spleen. These performances really do not detract from the film at all, however, as it seems the characters were written specifically for their respective actors. There is certainly nothing Oscar worthy here, but there is also really little to complain about.
Rating: 1

Writing: Bob Burden originally wrote the comic "The Flaming Carrot" for Dark Horse comics. Mystery Men is loosely based on characters taken from those comics. The humor translates well, overall. Burden and Cuthbert knew what they were trying to accomplish when they wrote the film. They never focus overly much on romantic subplots, internal turmoil, nor family conflicts. These situations do exist in the film, but they are there only secondarily to further the plot, their primary purpose is to further the humor of the film, and this was exactly what should have been focused on. After all, this is a film about blue collar super-heroes with no real powers taking on villians with plots preposterous even for a comic book. This is first and foremost a spoof. Humor comes first, plot is secondary - and this is how it should be.
Rating: 2

Directing: While the humor needed to be the focus of the writing, Kinka Usher could have perhaps allowed the actors to do their thing with the script and focused a bit more on internal continuity. The DVD of the film includes many deleted scenes, and while watching them I couldn't stop thinking why were many of these necessary scenes cut when so many superfluous scenes were left in? There are times where even within the internal reality of Mystery Men that many scenes just don't make sense. Some of our heroes never get their moment in the spotlight when the whole point to the film is that they have to work as a team to defeat their enemy. When you cut out their "moment of truth" scene you really remove any reason for that particular character to exist in the first place. And were I giving notes to Usher the one I would emphasize over and over again would be "pacing." Humor is very subjective, not everyone is going to get or like every joke, so keeping things moving is all the more important in a comedy. Usher allows too many scenes to bog down and run too long, the barbecue is a perfect example of such a scene. At first, I thought the various "heroes" offering themselves for recruitment was hilarious, but as the scene begins to run long, I've gotten the joke, it's time to move on.
Rating: 0

The rest: There isn't really one area of Mystery Men that stands out in most movies such as special effects, stunts, or cinematography. All of these elements exist, but very sparingly. The cinematography does what it needs to, but nothing more. The stunts are run of the mill fight scenes - no car chases or 100 story falls to be found here - but, the fights are fun to watch for the most part. The shots of Champion City are done almost entirely with computer effects and models, and these are very well done. You get a sense of flying through the city, and the models themselves are quite original, combining a sense of campy goth with honest urban sprawl.
Rating: 1

Fun Factor: While the pacing slows down a bit too often, and not all the humor will hit everyone the same way, when this movie is "on" it is absolutely dead on. For every scene you will want to skip to the end of, there are at least two more where you will be laughing so hard the milk you drank yesterday will start squirting out of your nose. Critics complained that this was a movie about blue collar superheroes. I counter by saying that, "Yes it is, and if you can't say why that is hilarious then I would say you are missing the point of the film."
Rating: 2

Overall: Mystery Men is a movie that I certainly would not recommend to everyone. But, if you could see yourself enjoying a spoof of comic book conventions then you will more than likely love this criminally underrated film.
Rating: 6/10
I lumped these three together because I want to finish this damn list of my DVD's. I am on the home stretch...but I still have alot to go through...

Gone In 60 Seconds
A film starring Nic Cage with Cage stealing cars in order to save his brother's life. Brings nothing new to the action genre and Cage looks bored here. Some good action sequences save this from being a failure.

Heist

I thought comedies were supposed to be funny? This is a failure by most accounts as many of the jokes get old too soon. William H. Macy needed to pay the morgage I suppose. The concept is good, but it just does not deliver the goods.

"Strenuously unfunny!"
-- Joe Baltake, SACRAMENTO BEE
VHS Second Viewing, 1 Usher film seen

It's good to see that Ben Stiller has matured since this film. Just kidding. Films like Mystery Men lead to Ben Stiller's success. He can only be in There's Something about Mary once. That's why Along Came Polly and films like that fail. When he tries to be a nice guy, he is boring. When he tries to be a complete nutjob, he is funny. Dodgeball, Mystery Men, Anchorman, etc. That's the way I like my Stiller. Mystery Men isn't completely successful, but who wouldn't want to see William H. Macy as a superhero?
Mystery Men is probably the best "Superhero" type movies ever done. It is a serious look at 'what if...' superheroes really existed, which is the primary reason it is so funny. The actors all turn in very believable performances, and the story is tight, with no loose ends, no unexplained details, nothing that is out of place. Every time I watch this movie, it just gets better.