Austin Powers in Goldmember Review
By Shawn McKenzie 08/01/2002
I have to start this review by saying I’m a big fan of the first two Austin Powers movies. I own them both on DVD and I watched them both back-to-back before I went to see the third movie. I had high anticipation for this movie. My fellow Denver-area critics had all already seen the movie and hated it. Reggie McDaniel (850 AM KOA Denver’s entertainment reporter) in particular said it was a little too crude for his tastes. He did admit that he thought I would like it because crude humor doesn’t bother me. He is right, to an extent. Crude humor doesn’t bother me as long as it’s funny and it fits with the story line, not crude just for the sake of being crude (like 2001’s worst movie of the year, Freddy Got Fingered.)
So, did I like Austin Powers in Goldmember? Yes I did. It was very funny, but it wasn’t as good as the first two movies. More on that later.
Before I get into my few problems with the movie, let me try to give you a spoiler-free description of the plot (since a lot of the humor of this movie derives from what you don’t know already about it.) The movie takes place three years after the events of the second movie. Since the second movie Austin (Mike Myers) has been getting all sorts of accolades for saving the world from Dr. Evil (Myers again), including having a movie made about his life and being knighted by the queen (by the way, there is no explanation as to where Heather Graham’s Felicity Shagwell character has gone since the second movie.) It is at the knighting ceremony that Austin realizes is still missing in his life…the respect of his father, Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), who doesn’t show up to the event (like he didn’t show up to his private school graduation.) Meanwhile, Dr. Evil has come back from his escape pod from space with Mini-Me (Verne Troyer.) Dr. Evil of course has a new evil plan to hold ! the world hostage for money. He has an idea for a tractor beam that will flood the world. He needs the help of a weird Dutch criminal mastermind from the 70’s named Goldmember (also Myers, who is named that because of an unfortunate smelting accident in which he replaced his member with gold…get it?) Austin finds out that Dr. Evil has arranged for the kidnapping of his father by Goldmember and brought back to 1975. Austin goes back to 1975 in a time-traveling pimpmobile and rescues his father with the help of an old girlfriend named Foxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles.) She comes back to 2002 to help Austin stop the evil plan of Dr. Evil, Goldmember, Mini-Me, and a newly more evil Scott Evil (Seth Green), who just want to relate to his father more (paralleling Austin’s dilemma and angering Mini-Me.)
A few problems I had with the movie stop me from giving it the same kudos as the first two movies. First, the title character, Goldmember, is the only unfunny character in the movie. Unlike Fat Bastard (Myers yet again) from the second movie, who was disturbing but funny, Goldmember is just disturbing. I didn’t understand why he liked peeling his skin and eating it. The second problem I had with the movie was that it repeated the same jokes again. All the classic ones are there: this movie’s version of the "zip it" scene; the silhouette gag; the funny name for the evil plan; the interrupting of saying a sexual body part by another scene (in this case it is boobs instead of the male organ.) At least the last gag is pointed out as being repetitive by one of the many celebrity cameos in the movie. I was surprised that they didn’t do the gag where they cover up Austin’s genitalia with different objects strategically placed.
The stuff in the movie that is funny far outweighs it’s few flaws though. All the other characters in the movie other than Goldmember are funny and/or entertaining, and the new gags are hilarious. Knowles gets the blaxploitation Foxy Brown/Cleopatra Jones thing down tight. Caine is believable as Austin’s swinging father. One of the new gags in the movie involves subtitles that had me on the floor laughing.
If you liked the first two movies, you will like Austin Powers in Goldmember. It’s not as good as the first two, but it is funny enough that I would welcome a fourth movie. Yeah baby! (Okay…you knew I had to do that…)
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