(PG-13) 2 1/2 stars First, let"s get the basics out of the way: If you"re a fan of the previous two Austin Powers movies, go see this one, but don"t read anything about it. You"ll enjoy yourself, believe me, and you"ll be glad that you didn"t read some review or article where the writer gave away the jokes.
Good, now that that"s taken care of, I can address the rest of you. Austin Powers in Goldmember starts off great, then gets dull for a few minutes, then slams viewers with a barrage of gags related to male genitals and bodily functions that grows increasingly more tiresome after initially drawing laughs. Periodically, some inspired bit of nonsense perks up the proceedings, but by the time the bloopers run over the closing credits, you are left feeling more battered than amused. Powers creator and star Mike Myers told Entertainment Weekly, "We felt Austin Powers 1 was a TV experience, The Spy Who Shagged Me was the film version of the TV experience, and that we wanted to make the Godfather II of broad comedy sequels in Goldmember." My, such ambition for a 94-minutes cavalcade of dick jokes. Well, to be fair, the film is more than just dick jokes. It also has jokes about balls and buttholes. Some of them are quite funny, but after a while, I wanted to scream, "Hey, Myers, try mixing it up a little, for Pete"s sake! Godfather II wasn"t filmed in the potty." The film opens with a hilarious bit of business that I won"t spoil by describing here. Suffice to say that it works just as well as it did when Paul Reubens and Tim Burton first presented it in Pee Wee"s Big Adventure. Then comes the unwieldy set-up, which I will try to make less painful than the film does. In addition to Dr. Evil (Mike Myers), secret agent Austin Powers (Mike Myers) must face a new megalomaniac, Goldmember (Mike Myers). To that end, he travels back in time to 1975 to enlist the aide of super sexy secret agent Foxxy Cleopatra (Mike Myers - oops, make that BeyoncÈ Knowles). The groovy duo end up in modern day Tokyo, trying to rescue Powers" kidnapped father (Michael Caine) and prevent one of the madmen (I can"t remember which one) from putting an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. There, that didn"t hurt, did it? The tissue-thin story includes as many father/son conflicts as The Road to Perdition. Austin feels neglected by his dad, who fails to show up to see his boy knighted. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil"s son Scott (Seth Green) finally patches things up with his pop, which leaves Mini Me (Verne Troyer), Dr. Evil"s tiny clone and ersatz son, spinning in the wind - alone and sad. Oh, the drama of it all. Myers and co-writer Michael McCullers bring back all of the characters from the last outing, including the still-revolting Scottish behemoth, Fat Bastard (also played by Myers), but show little imagination with their new ones. BeyoncÈ Knowles of Destiny"s Child gives an assured, appealing performance as Foxxy Cleopatra, but the concept of revisiting the kind of female action heroes popularized in "70s blaxploitation has been explored in other contemporary comedies. Goldmember, a Dutch disco king with a gold-plated penis who runs around gold plating other men"s units, is an anemic creation who does little besides eating his flaking skin. And pity poor Wonder Years veteran Fred Savage, stuck in a one-note role as a mole with a facial mole that has a mesmerizing effect on others. Sorry, Mr. Myers, but despite the clever subtitles jokes and the riotous shadow gags, you have crafted a film that is not the Godfather II of broad comedy sequels. Wayne"s World II would be more accurate, and that isn"t so bad. Hopefully, the structurally unsound, intermittently funny Austin Powers in Goldmember will mark the end of the franchise and Myers will move on to more fertile territory. Perhaps a satiric take on Hamlet where he plays ALL the parts.