Mystery Men

Usher's amiable spoof of superhero movies takes a brave stab at rewriting the mythology from the inside out, with lots of witty, mildly subversive stuff about working class heroes, commercial sponsorship of celebrities and casual depictions of violence. The Mystery Men are blue collar wannabes who live in the shadow of Captain Amazing (Kinnear). However, when the Amazing One's nemesis, Casanova Frankenstein (Rush), turns the tables on him, the proletarian underdogs recruit some new blood and bring their unique superpowers to bear on the situation. While commercials director Usher's visual style is polished, it is less frenetic than one might expect; indeed, the steady pacing and muddy storytelling are the movie's chief weaknesses. The lavish set designs are a little too busy, and the effects sequences sometimes more eye-dazzling than effective. But Usher's heart is in the right place, as is obvious from the flawed hero figures, pacifist undercurrents and likeable, downbeat performances.

Release details

Duration: 120 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Kinka Usher
Screenwriter: Neil Cuthbert
Cast: Eddie Izzard
Janeane Garofalo
William H Macy
Jenifer Lewis
Greg Kinnear
Hank Azaria
Tom Waits
Wes Studi
Claire Forlani
Lena Olin
Geoffrey Rush
Kel Mitchell
Ben Stiller
Paul Reubens