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MYSTERY MEN

1999, Dir. Kinka Usher
121 min. Rated PG-13.
Starring: Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Geoffrey Rush.

Review by Noel Wood

Finally, a movie with a message. A movie with a message that when they put their minds to it, a group of retards can band together to save the day.

Yep, MYSTERY MEN is a poorly disguised story of three retards who aspire to be like their hero, Captain Amazing. They adopt superhero personas and try their best to emulate the real mccoy, but to no avail. Ben Stiller plays Mr. Furious, the angry retard. William H. Macy is the Shoveler, the retard with a shovel. And Hank Azaria is probably the most retarded of the three, the Blue Raja, the retard who dresses up like an Indian and throws cutlery.

And to make matters worse, when their hero is kidnapped by Casanova Frankenstein, they recruit a new flock of retards to help them in their plight. First is Kel Mitchell as Invisible boy, the retard who thinks he can turn transparent. Then it's Paul "Pee-Wee" Reubens as The Spleen, the retard with overwhelming flatulents. And finally, they find Janeane Garofalo, who doesn't seem very retarded as the Bowler, using a real live superpower in a bowling ball possessed with the spirit of her late father. However, she's a retard by association.

      

So there you have it. A hodgepodge of retards. A patchwork of retards. An amalgamation of retards. A menagerie of retards. A gestalt of retards. Whatever you want to call them, they're still a bunch of retards.

Basically, the group can't do anything right. They keep fucking up every time they attempt to save Captain Amazing. They eventually recruit Wes Studi as The Sphinx, who winds up being the chief retard. And finally they sort of save the day by stopping Casanova Frankenstein's devious plans to fry Champion City in the end, but not before their bumbling retard antics wind up causing the demise of the hero they were there to save in the first place.

So the retards save the day. And even after they do, they still can't come up with a decent name for their outfit, suggesting such insipid and retarded titles as "The Super Guys" and "The Hero Squad" and stuff like that.

      

I think the end result is that Mystery Men is merely a statement of how with the right guidance and a few strokes of luck, retards really can achieve their dreams. And the director of this film must have had some strokes of retardedness as well for some of his decisions. Like the fact that this movie goes on for two whole hours. Hey, I can handle special effects so predominant that they make me lose story interest for an hour and a half, but not for two whole hours. I can't say I recommend MYSTERY MEN to everyone, but if you're looking for a movie about retards who overcome obstacles along the lines of FORREST GUMP and SLING BLADE, then this movie is for you.

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All Material Copyright 1998-2006 Movie Criticism for the Retarded.

For questions, comments, or the occasional stalking letter, send mail to Noel Wood. Please give proper credit when using any materials found within this site.


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