AUSTIN POWERS in GOLDMEMBER (2002)
Starring Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Vern Troyer, Robert Wagner, Michael York, with cameos by Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, John Travolta and Britney Spears.
Screenplay by Mike Myers and Michael McCullers.
Directed by Jay Roach.
Distributed by New Line Pictures. Rated PG-13. 94 minutes.
The films of the Austin Powers series are nearly impossible to critique. They make no claim to artistic merit, the characters are less than one dimensional, the storylines are ridiculous and the acting is — to be charitable — broad. So you have to take the films on their own terms… did they make you laugh or not? This dogged determination to tickle the audience made Austin Powers International Man of Mystery a gleeful surprising hoot in 1997. But the first sequel The Spy Who Shagged Me was a tired retread of the jokes that worked better the first time. The good news is that Goldmember is a step back to the laughter. The bad news is it still isn’t near funny enough.
Myers is now up to playing four characters in the film. One of the main problems is the character of Austin Powers himself. He’s pretty much a one-joke character and it was mostly played out in the first film. Now just hearing him say “Baby,” or making cat noises isn’t quite enough. Luckily Myers still has some comic juice left in his arch-enemy, the hysterical evil mastermind Dr. Evil. As for the other two characters Myers portrays, Scottish assassin Fat Bastard is still the same disgusting… and worse yet unfunny… disappointment as he was in Shagged. The new character Goldmember is totally unnecessary, neither funny nor particularly interesting.
Much more inspired was hiring Michael Caine as Austin’s famous spy estranged father Nigel Powers. Caine has giddy fun sending up his early films… although I wish he were given more funny lines. The big surprise in this new film is Vern Troyer as Dr. Evil’s clone Mini-Me. The character was not all that great when it first appeared in the last film, but in this film he is given depth and actually leads to some of the biggest yuks. Destiny’s Child singer Beyonce Knowles is surprisingly lifeless as love-interest Foxxy Cleopatra. It would appear the only two tricks in her acting bag are sassy attitude and looking embarrassed.
Goldmember was definitely funnier than The Spy Who Shagged Me, but there’s still no real reason for this series to ever go any farther. It will, of course, because they’re still making money. (7/02)
Copyright © 2002 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: July 26, 2002.