Book: Sounding Funny
Chapter: Austin Powers: Intentional Music Man
The Austin Powers franchise has gained much attention for Mike Myers. Commonly thought of as spy film spoofs, this chapter seeks to look more broadly at the range of comedic devices employed in the films. In particular we draw out Myers’ play on the musical and its exaggeration for comedic effect, showing how this genre crossing appeals to a range of audiences across generations and with a variety of modes of address. We argue that parody, pastiche and intertextuality are used masterfully by Myers and a strong part of the films’ appeal, however also acknowledge that audiences without in depth knowledge of the original texts are still able to participate in the comedic address. We also draw comparisons between Myers’ film work here and his earlier development as a sketch television artist, showing how his use of multiple characters and settings has been influenced across media contexts. Ultimately we argue that Myers’ film comedy is rich in its range and scope – a complexity of audio visual engagement that is rarely acknowledged in comedy screen analysis.