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Mystery Men

A movie directed by Kinka Usher

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Keeping it Real with the Mystery Men

  • Feb 15, 2011
Rating:
+4
Pros: laughter, fun, pure escapism

Cons: humor is subjective, not everyone's cuppa tea

The Bottom Line: This victory goes out to the little guy

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

Mr. Furious, Blue Rajah, the Shoveler... Once they were just three guys who met regularly for a meal at the local diner: Roy, Jeffrey and Eddie. They did their best to fight crime together wherever they found it. They got beat up... a lot. Champion city was too busy praising the shallow, but effective, Captain Amazing to even notice the efforts of it's lesser sons. Until, Captain Amazing began to truly worry that he was so amazing, he might put himself out of a job!

Disguised as his alter ego, wealthy benefactor Lance Hunt, the Captain aids in the release of his greatest foe from the local loony bin. But Cassanova Frankenstein knows Lance too well, and crazy doesn't mean stupid. When Mr. Furious discovers his plans to destroy Captain Amazing and take over Champion City, the guys send out the word that they are putting together the ultimate team to defend their beloved city.

The only-when-no-one-is-looking Invisible Boy is looking to prove himself, and is incredibly helpful when it comes to finding the right stuff for this elite cadre of the city's lesser superheroes.The Bowler is looking for revenge for her father Carmine, killed by Cassanova's Disco Boys. She hurls her father's skull, suitably encased in a clear bowling ball, with deadly accuracy. The mysterious Sphinx who melds them into a cohesive unit with a few well placed mystic phrases of wisdom, and the Spleen complete this rescue force.

What's that? What's the Spleen's super power? Pull his finger, and you'll find out! If these guys can just stop bickering long enough, Cassanova and his gang won't stand a chance!

"We've got a blind date with Destiny... and it looks like she's ordered the lobster." The Shoveler


~~~~~~~~~~ My Thoughts ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This 1999 film was directed by Kinka Usher, and written by Neil Cuthbert and Bob Burden, who original penned the idea for these hilarious characters in a feature of Flaming Carrot Comics. The Flaming Carrot was replaced by Captain Amazing as it was felt that the Carrot was just too bizarre to bring to the screen successfully. Mystery Men was widely considered a failure due to it's poor showing at the box office. In true Mystery Men style, it has slowly acquired a dedicated cult following though, and may yet prove that endearing ineptitude and clumsily amusing wit can triumph over the almighty dollar.

The stellar cast includes: Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Ruebens, Wes Studi, Kel Mitchell, Greg Kinear, Lena Olin, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Waits and Eddie Izzard. Each brings an outrageous and unique delivery of their flamboyant characters, an over-the-top enthusiasm absolutely essential in making them believable and endlessly amusing.

You can also spot cameos by director Kinka Usher as Moe, Cee-lo Green Robert Barnett (T-Mo) Cameron Gipp and Willie Knighton Jr. (Khujo) as evil rappers, Pras of the Fugees as Tony C, magician Ricky Jay as the Captain's publicist, director Michael Bay and Ricki Rachtman as two of the villainous Frat Boys (known for their lethal hazing), and Dane Cook as the Waffler.

We never feel that these are actors fulfilling roles though. These are large children throwing themselves heart first into the best make-believe play session I've witnessed since turning one of my mom's towels into my own cape. This film is not deep. It is not a triumph of technical mastery. It won't change your world, or dazzle you with their highly effective superpowers. As the Shoveler says, "We're not your classic heroes. We're the other guys."

What it will do is make you laugh, often and loud. There are so many delightfully funny lines that you may find yourself randomly quoting. Heller's non-lethal line of weapons, like the Blame Thrower and Canned Tornadoes, are actually quite impressive. There are quite a few references to other comic book heroes, easily spotted by fans. As well as a couple of shots at William Shatner who spouted "Don't tell me how to act - it sickens me" during a recording session for the animated Star Trek series after being asked twice to repeat a line in which he pronounced the word "sabotage" oddly.

The Mystery Men are so honestly themselves that it makes the group name an amusing misnomer. Repeated viewing doesn't wear the charm off of this play session either. Little details like Cassanova's release papers listing "unpredictable in bed" as one of his issues rise to the surface effervescently. The mix of physical comedy, easy camaraderie, hilarious dead-pan one liners, human ineptitude and self-delusion is just plain entertaining every time. When the trials and cares of daily life get heavy, the Mystery Men will give you a heaping spoonful of the best medicine, laughter, to help you through it all. 

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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About the reviewer
Quinn Blackburn ()
Ranked #128
Hello, my name is Quinn... yes, that really is my first name. :o) I also answer to Mom, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe … more
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About this movie

Wiki

When Captain Amazing, chief superhero of Champion City, is kidnapped by insane supervillain Casanova Frankenstein, who will save the city and ensure that justice is served? Enter the Mystery Men: Mr. Furious, The Bowler, The Blue Raja, The Shoveler, The Spleen, The Sphinx, and the Invisible Boy- a group of misfits in possession of superpowers...sort of. Watch the mayhem ensue, as this wacky team goes up against Frankenstein and his mad henchmen. This adaptation of the popular Dark Horse comic strikes a weird comic tone which is heightened by great production design and fun performances by all involved. This is the first feature from director Usher, who previously directed commercials ("Got Milk?").
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Details

Cast: Lena Olin
Director: Kinka Usher
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Universal Studios Home Video (January 11, 2000)
Runtime: 2hr 2min
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