Austin Powers in Goldmember

It was inevitable that third Austin Powers movie would be, just as it is inevitable that there will be more down the line. Mike Myers has a gift for doing what the general populace thinks is riotously funny. Nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean that the movie is funny. Are there funny moments in the movie? Yes. However, there are many more moments that are failed attempts at laughs. Goldmember's roots hearken back to many of the failed Saturday Night Live movies. They are essentially one-joke skits taken much too far. Of all the SNL alumni, Myers (Shrek, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) is one of the few to have a successful film career. The reason that this is so is because instead he has successfully created the world of Austin Powers, populating it with loony characters. So instead of being a movie where one skit goes on forever, Goldmember is a movie where there are tons of related skits. Think of it like a themed episode of SNL.

The key to remember is that Goldmember is a bunch of barely related skits with familiar characters. Myers and Michael McCullers (Undercover Brother, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) wrote the screenplay, but it hardly qualifies as one. The essence of it is that a Dutchman from the 1970s with a golden member kidnaps Austin's father. Austin, along with the help of Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles, Carmen: A Hip Hopera), an undercover agent, seek out to rescue him. The rest of the movie is a series of dance numbers, songs, and toilet jokes, and feels more like a variety show than a movie. Things begin on a strong note, with a Hollywood send-up of Powers that includes a number of high-powered cameos, but nothing after has the same energy as the first five minutes. The rest of the film is a mish-mash of everything thrown together, and Myers reprising his roles as Austin, Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard, and playing the role of Goldmember. There really isn't even an ending to the film.

The outrageousness of some of the skits is higher, tempered by the sad fact that many of the jokes that Myers uses are the same. If it was marginally funny the first time around, it is less so the second (or third). Pop culture references and further cameos abound, more for stunt casting than anything else. Michael Caine (Last Orders, Miss Congeniality) is a great touch as Nigel Powers. Here, Caine is spoofing many of the same films he made decades ago. Nigel is an older version of Austin, just as sexually charged, sometimes verbally incomprehensible, and with teeth just as bad. Knowles (spoofing some of the female blaxploitation movies of the era) seems to be having fun, but it's hard to tell how she's actually doing because her role is so marginal. Instead, most of the time goes to Myers, whose performance varies with the character. Fat Bastard and Goldmember really have little to do here aside from showing off Myer's talent. Powers and Dr. Evil are a little better. Oddly enough, Verne Troyer (Bubble Boy, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) comes across as having the most depth, even though he doesn't say a word.

Meanwhile, the story moves merrily along, oblivious to anything else that may get in its way. Many other actors are back (Seth Green, Robert Wagner, Michael York, and Mindy Sterling the main examples) as is director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Mystery, Alaska) so the movie has the right 'feel.' The settings look just as groovy and colorful as before. The seventies work well with Austin, and it's a shame that he spends so little time there. If anything, the scattershot approach the script gives shows that the concept is wearing thin. The Austin character is not the main draw, it is all of the other characters and the jokes. And as funny as crude humor can be, it can get tiring quickly. The only way to revive it seems to be to bring in another random Myers incarnation, then throw everybody together and see what happens. Goldmember is the sort of lightweight piffle that is funny for the moment, and loses steam quickly after the viewing.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual inneundo, crude humor, and language.

Back to Movies