Asinine, crass and embarrassingly unfunny – that was the scathing verdict of film censors on Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery.
Starring Mike Myers alongside Liz Hurley, the 1997 movie is now affectionately regarded as a fine comedy of its time.
But examiners at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) took an instant dislike to the ‘shagadelic’ secret agent, according to newly opened files.
Examiners at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) took an instant dislike to the ‘shagadelic’ secret agent, according to newly opened files
Though their job was simply to evaluate which certificate the film should be given prior to release, one of the examiners injected a withering review into their report, predicting that the ‘lavatorial’ piece of ‘tat’ would bomb.
The examiner wrote: ‘O dear, this really has to qualify as the worst new film for theatrical release.
‘I am not acquainted with Mr Mike Myers – the star and writer of this product – and cannot fathom how he can have been given this showcase for his talent.
‘It really is embarrassingly unfunny. The film is a spoof on a Bond movie but is so crass and asinine that one cannot even begin to warm to it.’
‘It really is embarrassingly unfunny. The film is a spoof on a Bond movie but is so crass and asinine that one cannot even begin to warm to it,’ the report read
The report went on to say that the movie had an ‘aggressive’ edge and commented on its ‘tacky’ and ‘lavatorial’ humour.
The examiner then launched a waspish tirade against some of the stars involved before concluding that the film was fit only for ‘undiscerning’ teenagers.
The unnamed BBFC employee wrote: ‘Produced by Demi Moore (why?) and directed by Jay Roach (who?) with British star Elizabeth Hurley (actually bringing a degree of class to this tat) and Michael York (must be desperate for work) and Robert Wagner (ditto)…
‘It is a difficult to know where the appeal lies… bored 15-year-olds is about right.’
The writer said the use of the f-word and repetition of terms such as s**t and shag ‘set the tone of the whole piece, crude, distasteful and unredeemed by intelligence, irony or wit’.
But the film took £50million at the international box office and combined with its two sequels it brought in a total of £500million
Myers would have the last laugh because the film, which was made on a budget of just £12million, took £50million at the international box office, and far more with video and DVD revenue.
It went on to spawn two even more successful sequels including Austin Powers: Goldmember, which featured cameo performances by Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow and Danny De Vito.
The three movies together brought in £500million at the box office worldwide.
In the first film, Powers and love interest Vanessa Kensington, played by Hurley, do battle against Dr Evil and his army of female robots known as fembots.
In their reports, the BBFC’s examiners normally provide a straightforward outline of the plot before advising of potential problem areas for classification.
A spokesman for the BBFC accepted the comments were ‘more colourful then normal’.
The film was given a 15 rating.