Austin Powers in Goldmember

star2 star1

Director: Jay Roach

Writers: Mike Myers & Michael McCullers

Main Cast:
Mike Myers - Austin Powers  
Mike Myers - Dr. Evil  
Mike Myers - Goldmember  
Beyonce Knowles - Foxxy Cleopatra  
Verne Troyer - Mini Me  
Michael Caine - Nigel Powers  
Michael York - Basil Exposition  
Mike Myers - Fat Bastard 
Fred Savage - The Mole  
Seth Green - Scott Evil
Robert Wagner - Number Two
Mindy Sterling - Frau Farbissina

Running time: 94 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Year of Release: 2002 

To sum up: Austin's back to do the same ol' same ol'. And this time he's brought along his dad.. 


There are two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch!”


         Depending on how cynical I am at the moment, Goldmember is a film that either has a total lack of faith in, or a complete understanding of, the intellectual capacity of it's audience. Indeed, there isn't a joke that seems to go by without having some sort of effort made to explain it, and make sure that everyone understands it.


        Take, for example, the well known opening credits intro, in which we discover that the exploits of our hero are being carried out not by Mike Myers as Austin Powers, but by another famous actor. Huh? What's going on? Oh, yeah. It's the old "movie-in-a-movie" gag in which we learn that this is just a film being made about Austin Powers, and is not Austin Powers himself. 


        It's a good concept. But just to make sure that you get the joke, to ensure that you know who everyone is, the actor's names are flashed on the screen during the action. Even the "director" has his name on the back of his chair. Not only does this spoil some of the fun, but by showing the actor's names, it tips off the audience to the joke too soon. Would it not have been better to not reveal the "movie-in-a-movie" joke until we pull back and see the director?


        Also, there are so many repeats of previous jokes, that the film acknowledges this by having the characters comment on it. The "Shh!" inspired banter between Dr. Evil and his son Scott is a prime example, in which Scott says, "Ok. Now I'll do my thing." They know we've seen this before, and to make the repetition more lame, the joke doesn't generate a laugh. It's easier to forgive a repeated joke, if it's funny. The second time it was. The third time it ain't.


        Repeated as well, but thankfully not to the degree of the second film, is the penchant for disgusting humor. The character of Goldmember has a nasty habit of peeling his skin and eating it. The character's comment on this as well, informing us that it's disgusting. We know this already. What I want to know is why it's there in the first place, cause again, it sure ain't funny.


            The plot (such as it is) deals with Austin (Myers) discovering that his estranged father (Michael Caine) has time-traveled to the year 1975 and been captured by the famous Goldmember (Myers again), who has joined up with Dr. Evil (Myers for three) to take over the world.


           As this film illustrates, Mike Myers is a person who will shamelessly repeat a joke with little or no variation. It must be from all those years of Saturday Night Live. If you thought the previous film repeated too many jokes, get ready, for this film draws from both the first and second Austin Powers for repetitive inspiration.


        Let's go through the list. 

        Exaggerated Dr. Evil laugh sequence. Check.

        Variation of "Shh" joke on Scotty. Done.

        Shadow effect to give appearance of things coming out of bodily orifices. Affirmative.

        Play on body part name by cutting to different locations and using the potentially offensive  word as a name, insult, location instead. Roger. 

        Rap done by Dr. Evil. Confirmed.

        Sad soliloquy by Fat Bastard. Complete.


        Now, if none of what I just mentioned above makes any sense at all, then there's a slight chance that you will find this movie funny.


        All in all, I found the repetition pretty weak, and ultimately frustrating to watch. Although the guffaws of one person filled the theater and more than made up for the rest of the audience.


        The only character that goes through any growth in an interesting way is Seth Green's Scott Evil, as he tries to gain the love of his father, Dr. Evil, by getting more in touch with his "evil" side. 


        Michael Caine, as Austin's Father is sadly underused. Dad's never been there for Austin, but it's really only sort of mentioned than actually dealt with. It bothered me, because this is a character that could have been fun to watch if he was given more to do. As evidenced by other work, Caine is certainly capable of being comic gold when given good material.


        Taking a cue from the Bond films, we get yet another love interest for Austin in the form of Beyonce Knowles as C.I.A. Agent Foxy Cleopatra, a character inspired by the heroines of the 1970's blaxploitation films. After the short trip back to the 1970's, she comes to the future with Austin, and for a few moments, I thought there would be an interesting twist, with her being guided through the present by Austin, who was himself a man out of his time in the first film. Sadly, it was not to be.


        And speaking of the 1970's sequence, I thought that they would have some fun taking shots at that decade as they did the 1960's in the first two films. But after what felt like only 10 minutes, this idea was let go as well, and they returned to the future.


        Sadly, along with the return of Fat Bastard, the disastrous addition to Austin 2, Myers comes up with yet another annoying character in the form of Goldmember. There was absolutely nothing redeemable about this character except that he's still not as annoying as Jar Jar. In fact, the only time I found him humorous at all was when he was played by an actor other than Myers.


        In spite of what you are thinking, there were sections of the movie that I did laugh in. The subtitles sequences were funny as well as the peeing statue. But I had to sit a while to get to these moments.


        This movie is a mess of half ideas and annoying characters offset, sometimes, by a funny moment. It's lazy and tired. Myers says that he loves the character but it sure doesn't show. He needs to put more heart into it or move on, and I'm tired of writing about this film...


        Save the $9.00.


(2002. Reviewed by Frederick Holbrook)


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