Austin Powers in Goldmember Review
Austin Powers is back, and he's even convinced MGM to let his third movie be called Goldmember after all. It was original feared that James Bond's studio would do anything they can to stop New Line using that title, and would even stop alternative suggestions such as License To Shag and The Man With The Golden Rod. Still, Goldmember became the film's title, and sparked guffaws by those who weren't stupid enough to splash out massive amounts of cash on any poster with the title, citing it as a collector's item.
Most second sequels of comedy franchises mark the beginning of the end when it comes to humour quality, and unsurprisingly Austin Powers in Goldmember is no different, with a few decent laughs splattered over its ninety-five minute running time. For those interested in the plot, Goldmember tells of Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) and Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) breaking out of their maximum security prison and forging an allegiance with the evil Goldmember (also played by Myers). In a bid for world domination, the trio plot to kidnap Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), superspy and father of Austin Powers (Myers yet again). In a bid to save his father, Austin travels back in time to 1975 to enlist the help of one of his sexy colleagues, Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles).
Myers promised that this would be the last Austin Powers vehicle, and now is as good a time as any to bow out of the franchise, as Goldmember occasionally looks tired and recycled as opposed to fresh and witty. The opening is brilliant, featuring a whole host of celebrity cameos, but sadly the film fails to continue at this level of momentum after the first act. This is mainly due to the fact that the jokes are mainly retreads from the first two movies, and Austin's catchphrases seem like time fillers rather than catchy retorts by now. Worse still, at least proper actresses such as Elizabeth Hurley and Heather Graham were cast as the leading ladies in the first two, but now Destiny's Child lead singer Beyoncé Knowles is the leading lady, and her performance fails to peak above mediocrity. You sense that Myers only casts women he fancies anyway!
With regards to the rest of the cast, it's nice to have Michael York, Seth Green, Robert Wagner and Mindy Sterling reprise their popular roles, and young Eddie Adams features as the younger Basil Exposition in the film. Fans of The Wonder Years will be overjoyed with news that its star Fred Savage features as Dr. Evil's Number Three, although the actor, now twenty-five, is barely recognisable. Myers does a good job in a number of roles, and he even proves he can roller-skate with one of Goldmember's musical numbers. Michael Caine is his usual hammy-blockbuster self, and he even sends up his Italian Job role by driving a cool mini.
Whereas the first film was a moderately successful comedy, and the second was a massive blockbuster that gave The Phantom Menace a run for its money, Goldmember struggles to find its own niche. Give or take a few brief comedy gems and a classic opening, the film is clearly the worst of the series. It's enjoyable, light-hearted fun and probably worthy of a night out, but don't expect your sides to hurt if they did after the first two films.