Mystery Men (1999)

Rating: **
Release date: 8/6/99
Cast: Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Reubens, Tom Waits, Wes Studi, Claire Forlani

Even with its lame brained humor and lack of subtlety, "Mystery Men" somehow manages to be endearing and entertaining in spite of itself. A corporate sponsored superhero named Captain Amazing decides to liven up his career by letting one of his nastiest enemies out on the streets again. This proves to be a fatal mistake for him, though, and it's up to a group of wanna-be superheroes with questionable super powers to rescue him and save the city from destruction at the hands of supervillain Casanova Frankenstein. The team consists of Captain Furious (Ben Stiller), Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), The Shoveler (William H. Macy), The Spleen (Paul Reubens), Invisible Boy, The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo), and The Sphinx (Wes Studi). The film works solely on its eye catching art direction and the wacky eccentricities of the outcast characters who are trying so desperately to be heroes. Unfortunately, the film doesn't have a lot of confidence in itself, and instead of just being fun and funny on its own merit, it tries too hard to be funny by throwing in a lot of cute and unnecessary dialogue (a common problem with Hollywood films). It's also very slow and the action sequences aren't all that exciting. Of all the performances, William H. Macy's is by far the best. He brings to the film what it needed most - sincerity. Then there's Ben Stiller's girlfriend (super sexy Claire Forlani), who raises the babe factor considerably. She's awesome. Overall, not a bad way to waste a lazy afternoon.