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as far as " mystery men " is concerned , the burning question is less " is it really as bad as it looks from the trailer ? "
( the answer there is an unequivocal " yes " ) and more " how in the name of sweet jesus did first-time director kinka usher get such a first-rate cast to act in this muck ? "
" mystery men " features greg kinnear as the heavily-sponsored captain amazing and geoffrey rush as his arch nemesis ( singular ) casanova frankenstein .
a veritable police lineup of hot hollywood talent plays the superhero wannabes of the title , who join forces to get c . amazing out of a tight spot when c . frankenstein puts the screws on champion city .
there's william h . macy as the mild-mannered shoveler , hank azaria as the cutlery-flinging blue raja ( no knives , but a phony english accent that's just as sharp ) , ben stiller as mr . furious ( whose only power seems to be his ability to get hot under the collar ) , janeane garofalo as a crazed bowler with her father's skull interestingly preserved , wes studi as a rhetoric-spouting cowled avenger , and kel mitchell as the token ( and , adding insult to injury , invisible ! )
black guy .
bringing up the rear , so to speak , is paul reubens ( yes , that's pee wee herman paul reubens ) as . . .
well , let's just call him the gas man .
the production design is overblown , the special effects are overdone , and the script ( based on bob burden's " dark horse " comic book series ) is overbaked .
the appealing actors are uniformly good and stiller is even stellar , but they can't begin to save " mystery men " --it's just one big mess .
you're better off renting the video and pressing fast-forward to get to the funny bits .
i believe i counted three .