Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||Kinka Usher|
|Produced by||Lawrence Gordon
|Written by||Neil Cuthbert
|Based on||Flaming Carrot Comics
by Bob Burden
William H. Macy
|Music by||Stephen Warbeck|
|Cinematography||Stephen H. Burum|
|Editing by||Conrad Buff|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||July 30, 1999|
|Running time||121 minutes|
Mystery Men is a 1999 American superhero comedy film directed by Kinka Usher, and written by Neil Cuthbert and Bob Burden, loosely based on Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics published by Dark Horse Comics. William H. Macy, Ben Stiller, and Hank Azaria star as a trio of lesser superheroes with unimpressive powers who are required to save the day.
Despite its list of stars Mystery Men made only $33,461,011 domestically and internationally, against a budget of $68,000,000.
In the fictional metropolis of Champion City, three men (Mr. Furious, The Shoveler, and The Blue Raja – played by Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, and Hank Azaria respectively) attempt to make a name for themselves as superheroes, but find themselves upstaged by the well-sponsored Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear). However, Amazing is finding that his skill at capturing villains has left the city with virtually no crime, and his corporate sponsors are threatening to terminate his funding. In order to create a need for a superhero, Amazing uses his alter ego, the billionaire lawyer Lance Hunt, to argue for the release of the insane supervillain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). The plan backfires; once reunited with Tony P (Eddie Izzard) and his Disco Boys, Frankenstein blows up the insane asylum, captures Amazing, and sets his sights on creating a doomsday device, the "Psycho-frakulator", which can bend reality. Mr. Furious, while spying on Frankenstein's mansion, discovers Amazing's abduction and tells the others.
The three realize they need more allies, and through word-of-mouth and try-outs, they bring aboard The Spleen (Paul Reubens), Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell), and The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo). The newly formed team "assaults" Casanova, which only succeeds in annoying him and damaging his car. While celebrating their victory, Tony P and his Disco Boys nearly kill the group, but they are saved by the Sphinx (Wes Studi). The Sphinx begins to train them, annoying Mr. Furious with his methods – he has them complete rote team-building exercises and speaks exclusively in platitudes. They also recruit mad scientist Dr. Heller (Tom Waits) who specializes in non-lethal weaponry.
Attempting to save Captain Amazing, the group breaks into Casanova's mansion during a gathering of the city's various gangs. In their attempts to free him, however, Amazing becomes the first victim of the Psycho-frakulator. Without Amazing, the team despairs that there is no way they can save the city, but the Shoveler delivers a classic pep-talk that succeeds in changing the group's spirit. They assault the mansion, subduing most of the henchmen with their weapons and using their negligible powers to surprisingly good effect. Unfortunately, as the heroes approach Frankenstein, he reveals that he has kidnapped Mr. Furious' girlfriend, then proceeds to activate the Psycho-frakulator and wreak havoc upon the city. While the team tries to stop the device, Mr. Furious takes on Frankenstein. After being taunted by and taking a beating from Frankenstein, Mr. Furious unleashes his inner rage and actually manages to fight effectively. He defeats Frankenstein, who is thrown into the core of the Psycho-frakulator and killed by its reality-bending powers. The rest of the team helps the Bowler use her bowling ball to destroy the Psycho-frakulator. They escape the mansion as the device implodes, killing several villains inside.
As the film closes, the team is interviewed by reporters, begging to know what their team name is. As they argue amongst themselves, one reporter states "Well, whoever they are, Champion City owes a great debt of gratitude to these 'Mystery Men'," but the others are too busy arguing to hear it.
- Ben Stiller as Mr. Furious
- William H. Macy as The Shoveler
- Hank Azaria as The Blue Raja
- Kel Mitchell as Invisible Boy
- Paul Reubens as The Spleen
- Janeane Garofalo as The Bowler
- Wes Studi as The Sphinx
- Geoffrey Rush as Casanova Frankenstein
- Eddie Izzard as Tony P.
- Prakazrel Michel as Tony C.
- Artie Lange as Big Red
- Lena Olin as Dr. Anabel Leek
- Greg Kinnear as Captain Amazing/Lance Hunt
- Ricky Jay as Victor Weems
- Tom Waits as Dr. A. Heller
- Claire Forlani as Monica
- Dane Cook as The Waffler
- Doug Jones as Pencil Head
- Dana Gould as Squeegee Man
- Michael Bay and Riki Rachtman as Frat Boys
- Goodie Mob including Cee Lo Green as the "Not-So-Goodie Mob"
- "The Mystery Men Mantra" – Mark Mothersbaugh
- "All Star" – Smash Mouth
- "Planet Claire" – B-52s
- "No More Heroes" – Violent Femmes (Originally by The Stranglers)
- "O Mio Babbino Caro" – Miriam Gauci (Composed by Giacomo Puccini)
- "Gangsters" – Citizen King (Originally by The Specials)
- "Who Are Those Mystery Men" – Kel and the M.A.F.T. Emcees featuring Romaine Jones
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 60% based on 101 reviews. Jonathan Romney said that it was "a desperately hit-and-miss affair". Michael Dequina of The Movie Report said that it "fails to come up with worthy gags and one-liners for the able cast". Steve Murray of Cox News Service gave it a negative review, saying "Mystery Men is like its hapless heroes. It's a wannabe that has the best intentions – including a pronounced anti-gun stance – but none of the knack it takes to save the day, or itself."
British television channel Film4 gave it a positive review, saying it was "Hugely entertaining – especially for those with a thing for superheroes."
- "Mystery Men". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com. October 14, 1999. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- "Mystery Men". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Mystery Men 1999". BFI Sight & Sound. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Archive Volume 53". The Movie Report. Retrieved 202–08–18.
- "Mystery Men". Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Access Atlanta. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Mystery Men - Film4". Retrieved 2012-12-03.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Mystery Men|
- Mystery Men at the Internet Movie Database
- Mystery Men at AllRovi
- Mystery Men at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mystery Men at Superheroes Lives