When Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me hit big screens in London on Friday, the word "shag" _ British slang for "to copulate" _ got the full-Monty-on-the-marquee treatment.
Film distributor New Line Cinema refused to change the title, though some Brits may blush when they see it. (The S-word raised a miniruckus among some Brits in America after the movie's U.S. premiere.) New Line is keeping mum on its decision in Britain. But when Austin Powers plays elsewhere, the title will have to behaaave, baby. Here are some titles New Line says it has considered or plans to use elsewhere:
SPAIN: La Espia Que Me Achucho
Translation: The Spy Who Hugged Me
FRANCE: L'Espion Qui Me Tire
Translation: The Spy Who Shot Me
GERMANY: Austin Powers: Spion in Geheimer Missionarsstellung
Translation: The Spy in Secret Missionary Position
LATIN AMERICA: El Espia Seductor
Translation: The Seductive Spy
ICELAND: Austin Powers: Njosuarinn Sem Neglani Mig
Translation: The Spy Who Nailed Me
Despite its affront to stiff-upper-lipped Brits, the "shagged" title fits the hip, if slightly cockeyed story line of the film _ a 1960s-era superspy in pursuit of his purloined libido; it also fits the movie's essence of "cool Britannia." The Spy Who Engaged in Furtive Assignations With Me just doesn't cut it.
And "shag" _ taboo in polite British society _ has seeped into everyday conversations in pubs, and even crept into sitcoms and respected newspapers.
The London Evening Standard recently quoted a single male student at the University of London discussing dating as sport: "It might be a case of how many pints will it take for you to shag that girl? You've invested all that beer, it's a shame to waste it."