Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual innuendo, crude humor and language
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast: Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Michael York
Director: Jay Roach
Screenplay: Mike Myers, Michael McCullers
Review published August 26, 2002
Mike Myers super-spy spoof creation is back for his third big-screen adventure and gives us more of what we've come to love (or loathe, depending on your perspective) the AUSTIN POWERS series for, namely kooky characters, sleazy sight gags and potty humor. How much you like GOLDMEMBER will greatly depend on how much you've liked the first two, and also your feeling on whether or not the material is beginning to run out for the series. Personally speaking, while I've never considered the first two movies as good, as more gags seemed to fizzle than flourish, I somehow still think certain moments are hilarious gems worth the price of admission for, and GOLDMEMBER did little to change my opinion.
In this third installment, Dr. Evil forms an alliance with the Dutch disco-king, Goldmember (due to the fact that he has replaced his phallus with a golden one after losing it in an accident), and together they hatch a plot to melt the polar caps and flood the world. Austin Powers is sent to stop the plan, venturing for a bit to 1975 where he picks up the super bad-ass mama Foxy Cleopatra, and together they vow to infiltrate and take down Evil and Goldmember at any cost. However, Goldmember has abducted Nigel Powers, the father Austin has spent a lifetime in trying to earn the respect of.
Since I have very mixed feelings about each one of the Austin Powers films, I feel it would be easiest to break GOLDMEMBER down to the parts I like and those I could do without.
THE GOOD: GOLDMEMBER continues the funny sight gags (reminiscent of, and sometimes plagiarized, from Benny Hill) and some of them are laugh-out-loud hilarious. The cast is still energetic while Myers does a funny turn performing every characters he plays. The look of the film is always appealing, full of nice colors and sounds, especially when Austin takes a trip to the funky 70s. The frenetic pace is infectious, and we have come to enjoy the characters over the course of the three films. Also, Michael Caine is perfect as the role of Austin's father.
THE BAD: The Austin Powers' trilogy seems to have exhausted all jokes about it's title character, as the "Smashing Baby" and "Oh Behave" quotient has been reduced to an obligatory one-time thing. Along with Nigel, there are three other notable new characters are introduced, all of them initially appealing, but too little is done with Foxy Cleopatra, while Goldmember is a two-joke villain (he speaks with a funny Dutch accent in addition to the obvious) which isn't really funny after the first scene we see him in, and a one-joke character in No.3, who is a mole (spy) who literally has a giant mole on his face. There are also the characters that remain which are no longer funny, such as no.2, Scott Evil, Frau Farbissina, Fat Bastard (providing the film with the worst moments), and even Dr. Evil's schtick is beginning to become tiresome. The AUSTIN POWERS series is now carrying too much baggage, and perhaps to be funnier in the future, it may be time for a complete overhaul.
Still, even if Austin Powers is a half-hour of funny moments stretched out to a 90 minute length, they are spaced out well enough so that the film doesn't lull us to sleep. For every scene where the jokes lay dead or prolonged to the point of tedium, there is another one to get you falling out of your seat right after. While there really isn't anything fresh or funny this time around, and you may grow tired of the series as a whole as a result, you probably will still feel glad you climbed aboard Mike Myers' zany creation for one more go-around.
©2002 Vince Leo