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Mystery Men (1999)

mm caMystery Men was directed by Kinka Usher and written by Neil Cuthbert and Bob Burden, loosely based on Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics. The film takes place in the metropolis of Champion City, the would-be superhero team of Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), The Shoveler (William H. Macy), and The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria) attempt to make a name for themselves, but their suspect skills make them ineffective, and they find themselves upstaged by the city’s most successful superhero, Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear). However, Amazing is finding that his effectiveness at fighting crime has practically made his job obsolete, and without any worthy adversaries remaining (some of them are either dead, in exile, or still in jail), his corporate sponsors are beginning to pull their funding.

To create a need for himself, Amazing uses his alter ego, billionaire lawyer Lance Hunt, to argue for the release of insane supervillain Casanova Frankenstein. The plan backfires; once reunited with Tony P (Eddie Izzard) and his Disco Boys, Casanova Frankenstein blows up the insane asylum, captures Amazing, and prepares to unleash a doomsday device: the “Psycho-frakulator”, which lethally bends reality. Mr. Furious, while spying on Casanova Frankenstein’s mansion, discovers Amazing’s capture and informs the others.

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After an unsuccessful rescue attempt, the three realize they need more allies, and through word-of-mouth and try-outs, they recruit 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 drunk from celebrating their victory, the team is nearly killed in retaliation by Tony P and the Disco Boys, but they are saved at the last minute by the Sphinx. The Sphinx (Wes Studi) trains them, but his methods annoy Mr. Furious – he has them complete rote team-building exercises and speaks exclusively in platitudes. They also seek out mad scientist Dr. Heller (Tom Waits), who specializes in non-lethal weaponry, to equip them for their battle…

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