Directed by American filmmaker Jay Roach, ‘Austin Powers’ is a series of action spy comedy films starring Mike Myers as the titular character. It is a trilogy of films, ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’ (1997), ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’ (1999) and ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ (2002). The series follows Austin Powers saving the day with his suaveness and spontaneity. The franchise parodies famous spy agent characters, with iconic characters such as James Bond and Jason King, facing the brunt of its satire. The narratives of these flicks are filled with pop cultural references; the character of Austin Powers is built upon the model of the 1960s Swinging London.
Much of the narrative of ‘Austin Powers’ is derived from outrageous plots, rampant sexual innuendo, and the two-dimensional stock characters of the classic 1960s spy films. It pokes fun at the narrative and parodies the character archetypes. From the overtly suave super spy (despite his seemingly unhandsome face) to the evil scheming ultra-evil villain to the super beautiful women falling for the charms of the protagonist and not add anything to the narrative, each and every aspect of the spy film is brutally ridiculed by ‘Austin Powers’.
The films on this list are parodies much like ‘Austin Powers’. They all parody established and hugely successful franchises with pure comedic brilliance. Though they may be tonally or stylistically different, the themes and ideas dealt with are quite similar. So, here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘Austin Powers’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Austin Powers’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Scary Movie (2000)
A parody of the slasher films such as the ‘Scream’ franchise and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ (1997), this comedy slasher flick is about a group of teenagers who are stalked by an inept serial killer. The film received mixed reviews from critics but has since gone on to become a beloved and cult classic of the parody film genre. Directed by American filmmaker Keenen Ivory Wayans, ‘Scary Movie’ is teeming with politically incorrect jokes and sometimes juvenile humour, which makes it even more funny and hilarious. It is also a great parody of slasher and completely turns the genre archetypes into comedic gold.
9. 21 Jump Street (2012)
Adapted from American police procedural television series ’21 Jump Street’ which ran from 1987 to 1991, the buddy cop action film follows two police officers – Officer Morton Schmidt and Officer Greg Jenko – who are given the job of tracking the source of a synthetic drug and stop its outbreak and thus have to go undercover in a high school. Directed by American filmmaking duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the film parodies the not so subtle action films. Adding to its comedic overdrive, ’21 Jump Street’ boasts of the brilliant comedic relationship between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, who showcase their strength with pure brilliance.
8. Hot Shots! (1991)
Directed by American filmmaker Jim Abrahams, ‘Hot Shots!’ stars American actor Charlie Sheen as LT Sean “Topper” Harley, a talented but unstable fighter pilot who has to overcome the ghosts of his father and save a mission sabotaged by greedy weapons manufacturers. A parody of the Tom Cruise starrer ‘Top Gun’ (1986), the film satirizes the “one-man army” films which saw a scathing rise in the 80s. A financial and critical success, much of the film’s brilliance comes from its unrelenting jibes at the aforementioned action films which were led by one character oozing with masculinity, who breaks all odds, and takes the centre stage despite having a supporting cast who can add some value to the story.
7. Spaceballs (1987)
Written, produced and directed by American filmmaker Mel Brooks, ‘Spaceballs’ is a comic science fiction film that revolves around a rogue star pilot and his reliable sidekick who have the responsibility to rescue a Princess and save the galaxy from a ruthless race of beings known as Spaceballs. Taking reference from the classic franchises such as ‘Star Trek’, ‘Alien’ and the ‘Planet of the Apes’, the film particularly parodies the classic ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. Though the film received quite lukewarm reviews from critics upon release, it has since become a cult classic. The movie also pioneered the humongous array of parodies of successful franchise film which grew immensely in the 90s.
6. Tropic Thunder (2008)
An action comedy, ‘Tropic Thunder’ is directed by Ben Stiller and centres on a group actors who are part of a Vietnam War film. Their tantrums get the most of the director who, out of frustration, vacates the team in the middle of the forest. They have to now survive the atrocities of the jungle with their “masterful” tool of acting. The film has actors Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel, and Brandon T. Jackson in the lead roles, who give soul to the self-referential narrative. The film, written co-written by Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller and Etan Cohen, also utilizes the often poorly employed cameos to its maximum potential, thus executing a rib-tickling comedy. While the film was surrounded with immense criticism for Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of a “blackface” actor, its brilliance could not be questioned, as it went on to score nominations at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.
5. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Parodying classic Hong Kong action films, ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, set in Shanghai, China in the 1940s, follows a wannabe gangster who aspires to join the notorious “Axe Gang”. However, his efforts to prove himself as a competent gangster are put to test when he learns that the residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers to defend their territory. Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow, ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ features a number of retired actors who were famous for the 1970s Hong Kong action cinema. This is one of the major features of the film as it merges the 70s film stars’ talents who bring the classic sensibilities of their era and the contemporary wuxia films such as ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ (2000), directed by Ang Lee and ‘Hero’ (2002), directed by Zhang Yimou.
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4. Hot Fuzz (2007)
The second film of the ‘Three Flavours Cornetto’ trilogy, ‘Hot Fuzz’ follows Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two police officers who are put up to the task to solve a series of mysterious deaths in Sandford, a village in the West Country. Directed by English filmmaker Edgar Wright, the film develops upon the archetypes of the classic buddy cop action films to execute a rib-tickling comedy. The film satires the often prototypes of the buddy film which rose to prominence in the 80s. Edgar Wright, with his taut direction, utilizes the jump scares of zombie apocalypse film to craft the comedic tonality. In addition, the wonderful chemistry between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is just icing on the cake, as they bring out the spontaneity required for such parodies. The film was received quite well by critics and buddy-cop veteran Shane Black also praised the film immensely for its homage to the genre.
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3. Young Frankenstein (1974)
Satirizing the horror classic ‘Frankenstein’ (1931), this comedy horror is directed by Mel Brooks. ‘Young Frankenstein’ follows an American grandson of the infamous scientist, who struggles to prove that his grandfather was not as insane as people believed. He is invited to “Transylvania”, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body. Among its many admirers, ‘Young Frankenstein’ was said to be Mel Brooks’ ”funniest, most cohesive comedy to date” by Vincent Canby of The New York Times, while Roger Ebert considered it to be “the most disciplined and visually inventive film (it also happens to be very funny).”
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2. Airplane! (1980)
An American satirical disaster film, ‘Airplane!’ is a parody of ‘Zero Hour!’ (1957), which is directed by Hall Bartlett. The film stars Robert Hays as Ted Striker, a traumatized war veteran-turned taxi driver who has developed a pathological fear of flying. His fears are put to test when he is given the task of safely landing a plane after the pilots become increasingly sick. Co-written and co-directed by David and Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams, the film develops its comical narrative through surreal humour and witty slapstick comedy. Parodying the disaster films, the narrative is filled with visual and verbal puns. The film received high praise upon release, with film critics such as Roger Ebert praising its self-referential humour. The movie is today widely regarded as a classic.
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1. Blazing Saddles (1974)
The second Mel Brooks feature, ‘Blazing Saddles’ is a satirical Western film, following the exploits of a black sheriff who takes it upon himself to defeat a corrupt politician who had appointed him to ruin a western town. A three-time Oscar-nominated comedy, the film pays homage to classic Westerns like ‘High Noon’ (1952) and ‘Once Upon A Time in the West’ (1968). A classic in its own, ‘Blazing Saddles’ explores the archetypal traits of western such as a corrupt politician, an over-masculine sheriff and the teeming racism. It is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made. Among its many accolades, the film was included in American Film Institute’s “100 Years…100 Laughs” and has been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
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