Film Reviews:

Mystery Men

(Kinka Usher, US, 1999)

So, these guys aren't the usual type of superhero. That's cool - anything that pokes a little fun at the usual type of superhero is usually alright by me. The opening scene is promising - comically evil-looking bad guys going up against completely ludicrous heroes in an old peoples' home, of all places. But our heroes aren't very good. Plucky and all, but not very effective. And, what's more, on top of their humiliating defeat, evil supervillain Casanova Frankenstein (the marvellous Geoffrey Rush) has been released from prison. Cue an urgent - and rather funny - recruitment drive.

It's a good thing they have one, because without Janeane Garefolo's sassy Baby Bowler, this film would be rather full of testosterone. As it is, she feels a bit like the token woman. What follows from the recruitment drive is a fast-paced mix of opulent costumes, comics' clichés, power struggles, cartoon violence, bad accents and plenty of fart jokes. Mystery Men could've done with a little tighter editing, but overall, I recommend this one: it's visually fantastic to look at and it has laffs-a-plenty - whether you're a fan of superheroes or not.

Anna Jellinek

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