America beware! Comic book geeks have some clout, and they aren't using it to make their "Magic: the Gathering" cards more dazzling. They're making movies. "Mystery Men" is what these freaks have been jacking off to in their fantasies for years. You see them everywhere, on the bus, at the bus stop, and sometimes even on the light rail, with big wet stains on their black pants. But now, the fantasy has come real and those pasty-skinned, doughy, trench-coated dweebs will be descending on your cineplex in droves. They'll love "Mystery Men," but you won't unless you're one of them, or you really dig repetitive fart jokes.
In Champion City, a cheaply digital and miniature creation, Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) keeps the citizens safe and rakes in the dough off endorsement deals. He's so successful that lesser superheroes like Mr. Furious (Ben "I Still Can't Act" Stiller), The Shoveler (William "I Want Better Work" Macy) and the Blue Raja (Hank "How the Fuck Did I get to be a Movie Star?" Azaria), can't get a break or an endorsement deal. The problem is that Capatain Amazing is so successful there aren't any criminals left for him to fight, and his endorsement deals are disappearing.
So, Kinnear has his most lethal nemesis, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey "Lord, am I Ugly" Rush), released from the asylum so he can battle him once again. As soon as Rush is out of the nuthouse, he plots to capture and torture Kinnear, and he succeeds.
It is up to the second string of superheroes to save him and stop Rush. Stiller, Macy and Azaria recruit Janeane Garofalo (a woman with a lethal bowling ball), Kel Mitchell (a kid who can disappear when nobody is looking), Paul Reubens (the Spleen who, get this, farts - kids, the movie doesn't get any more sophisticated than this), and Wes Studi (The Sphinx, a Successories spouting enigma). Together, they attack Rush and, surprise, sur-fucking-prise, defeat him despite their own bumbling. They become famous heroes.
Whoever wrote this piece of crap probably laughs at "Spaceballs" every fucking time the USA Network shows it. I mean, we're talking the same world-class, lame-ass jokes written by someone trying very hard, but without any ability to be funny (Please note: Mel Brooks sucks hairy prisoner's asshole, but he used to be hilarious). Whoever wrote this is one of those dicks who guffaws at the subtle hilarity of Doctor Demento, and then keeps singing those songs over and over and over.
To make it even worse, the jokes of "Mystery Men" are repeated ad nauseum. If we give the director and writer the benefit of the doubt and pretend that one fart joke is funny, there is no fucking way repeating it twelve times is funnier. Well, it is to comic book freaks who still think "Monty Python's Holy Grail" is a hoot the 60th time they've seen it. Ben Stiller's Mr. Furious gets furious and that is almost amusing the first time, but weak thereafter. The schtick with Janeane Garofalo's Bowler talking to her father's skull, which is imbedded in her ball, is never funny. Neither is Paul Reubens lisp and acne, Hank Azaria's intentionally fake British accent, or the villain's henchmen who like disco. God, how obvious and lame. If you like this type of forced zaniness, you're gonna want this crap on DVD.
The actors really don't give a flying fuck. Why should they? Every single performance is flatter than a Olympic gymnast's chest. They wander through the film, tired with the same-joke character they are playing. Azaria can't wreak a single giggle from the lame wackiness that is a fork-throwing American who pretends to be a Raj. Garofalo is so uninterested in her character and the lines that she's 40% acting and 60% sleeping. And Ben Stiller once again is gratingly unfunny. This man could be our generation's Dan Ackroyd; a man so convinced in his comedic talent that he forces his way into films he doesn't belong in (all of them). The film tries to shoehorn Claire Forlani (looking really skanky) into the film as Stiller's romantic interest, but that is about as awkward and unbelievable as the time Mrs. Filthy claimed the dogs ate the half-gallon of rocky road after I found the carton buried in our trash.
I believe "Mystery Men" is intended to be a satire of the comic book genre. Here's a tip for the makers: make a satire about something that more than the God-damned weirdos care about. And, while you're at it, satirize the subject rather than repeat the same stupid joke. But, the makers aren't trying to be critical, they writing a love poem to their secret, geek passion comics.
"Mystery Men" merely points out the obvious stupidity of comic books and then pretends that's clever. What, superheroes have silly powers and can do impossible things? No fucking shit, that's exactly why most people don't read them. How about making fun of the homoerotic taint to them? Or mocking the lurid colors, or the way women are objectified? How about
The one thing I can say to "Mystery Men's" credit
is that someone cared enough to make it. I believe the makers
truly thought they were making something neat and clever and
being subversive. They failed miserably, but not because they
didn't try. They failed because they were incompetent and wholly
unqualified to make a comedy or satirize anything. A very generous
two-fingers. But don't get the idea that I like comic
book weirdos. I just feel sorry for them.