AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER|
U.S. Release Date:
July 26, 2002
Distributor: New Line
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Seth Green, Michael Caine, Rob Lowe (Cameo), Tom Cruise (Cameo), Kevin Spacey (Cameo), Josh Zuckerman, Danny DeVito (Cameo)
Running Time: 1 hour and 34 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sexual innuendo, crude humor, and language)
What do Britney Spears, Tom Cruise and Godzilla have in common? They all make brief appearances in the highly anticipated third installment of the Austin Powers franchise. Again directed by Jay Roach, Austin Powers in Goldmember has more celebrity cameos than Fat Bastard has chins. So many in fact that if you blink you might miss them. Look really hard, and you'll even see Katie Couric. I assure you, she's there.
Without giving too much away, I'll just say that the first ten minutes of Austin Powers in Goldmember are almost funnier than the first two movies combined. The opening title sequence spares no expense and offers Hollywood-sized laughs that will leave you gasping for air. Don't worry though; the rest is just as generous in the hilarity department. Nothing is in moderation here, least of all the foul humor and endless innuendos. Mike Myers' masterfully crafted jokes have managed to endure the entire franchise with ease. If you don't think that the The Spy Who Shagged Me's "shadows behind the tent" gag could make you laugh out loud this time around, think again. Many of the jokes are recycled, but the comedic chemistry of the cast manages to make them work time and time again. They still look like they're having fun, so it's almost effortless for the audience too.
Britain's favorite international man of mystery is back to save the world again from the sinister clutches of Dr. Evil and his gang of inept henchmen. (He's still surrounded by "friggin' idiots.") All the familiar faces are back, including Number Two (Robert Wagner), the stentorian Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) and last but not least—unless you are talking about height—Mini-me (Verne Troyer). This time, Dr. Evil says he has the perfect plan. With the help of another evil genius—the aptly named Goldmember (Myers)—he'll lure a giant asteroid right into the earth using a "tractor beam." He calls this plan "Preparation H," a name that naturally spawns a string of raunchy puns.
Meanwhile, Scott Evil (Seth Green) is still desperate for respect from his father, who generally favors Mini-Me because Scott just isn't evil enough. Scott isn't the only one vying for a father's attention. Austin gets knighted by the Queen, a ceremony that his father Nigel (Michael Caine) neglects to attend. But when the repugnant Goldmember kidnaps Nigel later that day, Austin must race back in time to 1975 to save him. There he discovers a "whole lotta woman" in Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles), and together they must save Austin's father and the world.
Unfortunately, Goldmember—one of four characters played by Myers—is painfully unfunny. His punch lines rely almost entirely on gross-out humor and making fun of the Dutch culture. He often distracts from the genius of the staple characters, and even the jokes that Dr. Evil plays off of him fall flat. Not to mention he eats his own dead skin.
Moving along, Knowles is fabulous as Foxxy Cleopatra. She's likeable enough to want to keep around, even though her attitude is sometimes more noticeable than her cleavage. Whatever happened to Felicity Shagwell you wonder? Who knows? who cares? Knowles is a vast improvement, though not quite as good as the original Austin Powers babe Elizabeth Hurley.
Fans of Fat Bastard won't be disappointed. He's back and more disgusting than ever. Almost too disgusting if that's possible. He spends most of his screen time sumo wrestling and going to the bathroom. Nothing new there. Indeed, many of the jokes literally revolve around "potty" humor.
Surprisingly, some of the best laughs came from a new character, The Mole (Fred Savage). He's the ministry's mole inside Dr. Evil's lair, and ironically he has a mole the size of a quarter on his face. The reaction to this facial blemish evokes laughter every time despite not being the most original gag (remember Uncle Buck?).
But not everything is recycled here. A few surprises await moviegoers. The largest one being a twist ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud. Okay, maybe not, but it's still a shock. Best of all, we finally get to see the "sharks with friggin' laser beams attached to their heads!"
Bodily functions, bodily fluids and bodily harm. That's the best way to characterize the type of humor in Goldmember: If this doesn't appeal to you, better sit this one out. For those of you who have never liked Austin Powers, don't bother trying now. He hasn't changed, so you will be wasting your money. But if you are an Austin Powers fan, you'll really dig it, baby.