I saw the original Austin Powers on our satellite (probably on demand) when I was in sixth grade, and I forgot about it shortly after. Most of the humor surely went right over my 12-year-old head, and I wasn’t particularly into spy movies, either, so it had little appeal.
A couple of years go by, I mature a little, and the sequel hits theaters. I saw it that summer, and laughed riotously throughout its entire runtime. I went back and rewatched both movies ad nauseum, including the commentary tracks (which I almost never do), as Powers and Dr. Evil became a couple of my favorite movie characters ever.
Sure, a lot of the jokes still went over my head, but that added to its appeal. I was watching something age-inappropriate (Myers and Jay Roach had to bend over backwards at times, as noted in the commentary track, to preserve the original film’s PG-13 rating), and felt more and more grown up as I caught on to each successive joke.
I will always have an affection for this movie and its sequel, though I enjoyed it much less this time around. For one thing, it’s difficult watching a comedy you’ve nearly memorized. Even though I’ve watched all 22 Bond films in the last year, the material didn’t have any more resonance than in the past (though I had hoped it would).
This time through, I noticed at many different points the obviously lower budget of the first entry in the series. The practical effects look pretty bad sometimes, though I largely give it a pass as it could easily be referring to the Bond films’ effects work (particularly in the Roger Moore era). I don’t think that was probably the intent, but it works.
Also, quite a bit of the humor seems less relevant than it was 15 years ago (though some, of course, holds up fine). But overall, I found myself laughing more often at how funny I remembered the jokes originally being, rather than how funny I find them now. I think I’m burnt out on it, and look forward to seeing it again, maybe in 10 years or so.