Austin Powers In Goldmember Movie Review

The cameo-driven, "Mission: Impossible 2"-spoofing, movie-within-a-movie, pre-title sequence of "Austin Powers in Goldmember" is the funniest five minutes to date in this spy comedy franchise. Then Mike Myers shows up and ruins everything.

Still trapped in a skit-comedy frame of mind all these years after leaving "Saturday Night Live," his short attention span has made the "Austin Powers" movies little more than a string of brief, loosely-related set pieces which are often 98 percent setup and 2 percent punch line.

Myers goes miles out of his way to make a reference to the 1983 song "Mr. Roboto" by the band Styx, for example. Then he spends nebulously unfunny gaps between such gags to make fleeting mentions of the plot, which in this case concerns Dr. Evil -- Myers cueball goofball homage to James Bond's maniacal bald nemesis Blofeld -- teaming up with an scabby Dutch roller-disco owner named Goldmember whom Evil has transported from the 1970s.

As with Dr. Evil himself, Goldmember is played by Myers under tons of makeup. He's an obnoxious, elfin, clogs-and-codpiece-wearing loon whose so-called comedy traits consist of eating his own flaky skin, sporting private parts made of molded gold and spouting lines like "Hey everybody, I'm from Holland! Isn't that weird?"

Dr. Evil teams up with Goldmember to build a tractor beam so he can ransom the Earth by threatening to pull a giant meteor out of the sky. Austin Powers, that mock-suave, swingin' hep cat of a '60s secret agent, travels to 1975 to team up with FBI agent Foxy Cleopatra (played by Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles, acting mostly with her impressive cleavage), who is a blaxploitation imitation not half as funny as those in "Undercover Brother" just last month.

The movie has a head-spinning lack of continuity as it jumps around in time periods in search of highly telegraphed, self-referencing jokes. Good chunks of the film are spent on running franchise gags that even the characters seem tired of. "Oh this is very familiar. Let me do what I do," says Dr. Evil's cynical son Scott (Seth Green) when his dad tells him to "Zip it!" during an argument.

In spite of such tiresome retreads of familiar material, the pasty Nehru-jacketed Dr. Evil and his hilarious 1/8th-size clone Mini Me (Verne Troyer) are by far the movie's funniest characters. Whether it's the sight of Mini Me strapped to Evil's chest in a baby carrier, the rap video spoof they perform while in prison or Mini Me humping Foxy's leg while decked out as a little Austin Powers late in the film, these two are the only reliable source of chuckles in the whole picture.

Myers and director Jay Roach are clearly aware of this, as Evil and Mini Me get noticeably more screen time than Austin Powers himself, who seems to have lost his sense of sexual chicanery. In this installment, Myers acts downright bored in the role, saying "Yeah, Baby!" without much heart and resorting to other movie heroes' catch phrases ("My spider sense is telling me...") instead of inventing his own.

"Goldmember" does have one other high point in the performance of Michael Caine, who is a perfectly cast hoot as Austin Powers' retired super-spy father. But the film's good laughs are scattershot and wildly inconsistent, while the rudimental pee- and poo-level gags are relentless, demonstrating a distinct lack of creative ambition on the part of Myers.

While Dr. Evil and Mini Me do provide mild but reliable amusement throughout "Austin Powers in Goldmember," there are only two or three out-loud laughs to be had between the very funny opening scene and traditional out-takes run during the closing credits.


Austin Powers In Goldmember Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, Opened: Friday, July 26, 2002


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