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Mystery Men (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Mystery Men

MYSTERY MEN (1999)

Starring Hank Azaria, Claire Forlani, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, Greg Kinnear, William H. Macy, Kel Mitchell, Lena Olin, Paul Reubens, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Stiller, Wes Studi and Tom Waits.

Screenplay by Neil Cuthbert.

Directed by Kinka Usher.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 122 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Ever get told after the fact about a great party? Everyone had a great time, but no matter how much they try to explain to you how wild it was, you just don’t quite get the gist of it.

Mystery Men suffers from the same problem. Everyone’s having a great time on the screen. Not so much so in the audience. 

Mystery Men has an incredible cast, including Ben Stiller, Janeane Garafalo, William H. Macy, Greg Kinnear, Hank Azaria, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Reubens, Tom Waits, and others. It has a clever idea, a bunch of loser superhero wannabes pressed into action when the real hero of their city meets with foul play. 

The superpowers of these heroes range from the silly (Azaria throws forks, Macy wields a shovel) to the sick (Reubens’ atomic powered farts, an idea which wasn’t funny five years ago when Howard Stern stole it from an old National Lampoon “Foto Funnies.” Or even when National Lampoon originally came up with it in the 70s.) I know that is supposed to be the point, but the pointed irony doesn’t help. 

The love story between Stiller and the beautiful but completely wasted Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) feels totally tacked on. I’m sure the making of Mystery Men would make a better movie than the one that has come out. (8/99)

Alex Diamond

Copyright © 1999 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 6, 1999.

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