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Mystery Men

Director:Kinka Usher
Writer:Neil Cuthbert
Universal Pictures; 100 minutes; PG-13
Release:8/99
Cast:Hank Azaria, Greg Kinnear, Paul Reubens, Janeane Garofalo

Superhero spoof-flick Mystery Men is too bad for its own good. Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), in danger of losing ad contracts with Pepsi, decides to unleash an old nemesis to keep employed. He promptly gets captured. A band of marginally talented freaks (a fork-thrower, a magic bowling ball wielder, Pee-Wee Herman's “silent but deadly” gas leaks, et al.) decides to save the day.

The premise is good, and the ensemble cast really gels into an offbeat, humorous whole as each character realizes his or her wacky capability against a preposterous backdrop. Yet Mystery Men manages to disappoint. The action sequences detract from the pop cultural kitsch, and one is left with the vague suspicion that TV commercial whiz-kid cum director Kinka Usher simply didn't try hard enough.