Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mystery Men

Mystery Men; Science-Fiction comedy, USA, 1999; D: Kinka Usher, S: Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Janeane Garofalo, Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear, Tom Waits, Paul Reubens, Claire Forlani, Lena Olin

Champion City. Some bad guys attack a senior party so a bunch of powerless 'superheroes' try to stop them, consisting of The Shoveler, Mr. Furious and The Blue Raja who throws forks - but without success. The bad guys get defeated by the real superhero, Captain Amazing, but since there is no more challenge for him in the city he decides to free the dangerous Casanova Frankenstein. But Amazing overestimated himself: Casanova captures him. That's why Furious, Raja and Shoveler decide to gather a real team of superheroes to beat Casanova: they get joined by The Spleen, The Bowler, a man who can become invisible only if you don't look at him and The Sphinx. When Amazing gets killed, they storm the castle with their truck. There Casanova dies by falling into his own device. The team call themselves "Mystery Men".

"Mystery Men" is a well meant ode to outsiders, but in the end it's just a chaos of comedy. The script seems to be written with only half the effort while not even it's gags are something special: it's at moments embarrassing to listen to them because they are banal and 'childish'. The three main protagonists who want to be superheroes but can't because their 'powers' are average (The Shoveler handles a shovel, Mr. Furious can get very angry, The Blue Raja throws fork) are all nice caricatures of people trying to live their dreams despite all the obstacles, and Ben Stiller is especially trying to do his best, the bad guy with the funny name - Casanova Frankenstein - is solid, while some candidates for the 'superheroes' are pretty comical, like 'Pencilhead' and his son or 'Premenstrual Avenger'. Janeane Garofalo is also pretty fun as The Bowler heroine, having a bowling ball with the skull of her father, as well as the character of The Invisible Boy who can only become invisible if people don't look at him. The film has it's moments, but as a whole it seems sloppy, amateurish, heavy handed and thin, gaining it's potential cult status more out of it's curiosity than out of it's virtues.


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