AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER
Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 1:30 - Released 7/26/02
Goldmember is Mike Meyers's third (and reportedly last) feature as Austin Powers, the swinging, shagging, Bond-esque international man of mystery who has not only battled an ever-growing host of hilariously diabolical enemies (all played by Meyers in heavy makeup) but established a full-fledged cult following, spawning a veritable cornucopia of themed merchandise, movie and TV references, and popular catch-phrases such as "Yeah, baby, yeah!" and "Oh, behave!" After the events of Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), one wouldn't think there would be much more to do with the franchise, but writer and star Meyers, who got his start on Saturday Night Live, and director Jay Roach, who has directed all three Powers films as well as 2000's Meet The Parents and its upcoming sequel, Meet The Fockers, find a way to extend the laughs for yet another go-round, with the same level of energy and wit. Like Men In Black II, Goldmember sticks unashamedly to the tried and true formula, and that's why it's so hysterically successful.
Although it would help to know what has gone before in the
Powers saga, I'm certainly not going to go into it here. In this
episode (which begins with a hilarious spoof-within-a-spoof featuring
numerous celebrity cameos), the ever-villanous and never-properly-respected
Dr. Evil, played by Meyers in a bald wig, plans yet again to take
over the world, this time by means of a tractor beam that will
pull a gigantic, solid gold meteor into the earth's orbit and
crash into the North Pole, melting the icecap and flooding the
planet. The tractor beam, codenamed "Preparation H,"
was invented by the weaselly, well-freckled Dutch mastermind Goldmember
(also Meyers), whose name derives from a particular physical attribute
that resulted from a "tragic smelting accident."
But Austin (Meyers, of course) is not only interested in finding
Goldmember so he can locate Dr. Evil's secret underwater headquarters
(a submarine shaped like Dr. Evil in a prone position); he also
wants to save his father, the legendary British spy hero Nigel
Powers (Michael Caine), who has been imprisoned in 1975 via Dr.
Evil's time travel device from the previous film. When Austin
travels there (or rather, then) to save his dad, he meets up with
one of his many ex-lovers, a sugar-brown, gigantic afro-wearing
soul sister named Foxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny's
Child), who helps him figure out how to save both his dad and
Of course, the entire cast of previously established characters
returns, including Evil's loyal but ever-practical henchman, Number
Two (Robert Wagner), his jack-booted German dominatrix and occasional
lover, Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling), his psychologically damaged
and never-evil-enough son Scott (Seth Green), and his out-of-control,
pint-sized clone, Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Also making repeat appearances
are Austin's version of Agent M, Basil Exposition (Michael York)
and overweight Scottish villain Fat Bastard (Meyers), and joining
the franchise is a grown-up Fred Savage (child star of The
Wonder Years) as "The Mole."
This film is easily as effective as its two previous installments, once again utilizing the finest in pee/fart/poop/sex jokes, naughty juxtaposition of everyday objects, and Bond-spoof genius that only Meyers and Roach can deliver. I daresay it's probably good that Meyers has decided to retire Austin while he's on top of his game, though. There are only so many things a spy can stick up his butt and still be able to carry out his...doodies. ****½