Mystery Men

Behold the Flaming Carrot! The Flaming Carrot? This bizarre superhero and the Mystery Men are the creation of Bob Burden and appear every month in the pages of Dark Horse Comics. Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Hank Azaria, Paul Reubens, Geoffrey Rush, Lena Olin, Kel Mitchell, Wes Studi, Greg Kinnear, Tom Waits, Claire Forlani, and William H. Macy are all part of the large, star studded ensemble cast of the new movie based on Burden's creation. Unlike other superheroes, the Mystery Men are not world famous. They are just ordinary guys trying to be superheroes, albeit not too successfully.

Thanks to Captain Amazing (Kinnear, You've Got Mail), crime in Champion City is close to nonexistent. Now, Amazing worries about more mundane matters such as product endorsements. Amazing decides that to make himself more attractive to large rich corporations, he again needs to fight the good fight. He releases his arch nemesis Casanova Frankenstein (Rush, Shakespeare In Love), who then proceeds to capture Amazing. The only people who can rescue Amazing are Mr. Furious (Stiller, Your Friends and Neighbors), a man whose anger derives from his level of anger, the Shoveler (Macy, Fargo) who wields a shovel, and the Blue Rajah (Azaria, Godzilla), a man with an English accent who throws forks and spoons (but no knives!) and, oddly enough, wears no blue. They are joined by the Bowler (Garofalo, 200 Cigarettes), a young woman with the head of her father encased in a bowling ball, Invisible Boy (Mitchell, Good Burger), who can only turn invisible when no one is looking, the Spleen (Reubens, Pee-Wee Herman!), with the power of projectile flatulence, and the Sphinx (Studi, Deep Rising), who constantly is proclaiming nonsensical sayings. Together, these heroes must learn to overcome their obvious inadequacies to overcome evil and save the day.

Director Kinka Usher (the same man behind the Taco Bell Chihuahua commercials) does what he can with the script by Burden, Neil Cuthbert, and Brent Forrester. The style Usher uses in commercials also works well with the comic book action. The look of the film is great. Champion City is futuristic and ominous; a sort of middle ground between the initial dark Batman movies, and the later campy ones. The costumes look very amateurish and spliced together, as they should. The story is a mixed bag. It is a very simple story, stretched out to almost two hours. Certain stretches of the movie don't really have a purpose; they just serve as filler between major plot developments. The humor derives from the movie not taking itself too seriously, which is a good thing. Most of it is from petty bickering amongst the heroes, and of course, fart jokes, which begin to wear thin after a while. Mystery Men seems to be a movie that tries, but not hard enough.

Haro Rates It: Okay
1 hour, 58 minutes, Rated PG-13 for comic action violence and crude humor.