Austin Powers Goldmember

Austin Powers is back, and sadly, the time traveling super spy, seems to have left his best tricks in the past. In the new film “Austin Powers in Goldmember”, Austin is back in action against foes old and new. Goldmember centers around Austin (Michael Myers), attempts to stop the evil Dr. Evil (Michael Myers), from dropping an asteroid on the earth with the help of 70’s villain Goldmember (also Myers). Goldmember’s motivations are left largely unexplained as is the past history between 70’s sex kitten Foxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles), and Austin who end up working with one another to save the day and rescue Austin’s father (Michael Caine).

We know there was something between Austin and Foxy, but we do not learn if it ended because he went into stasis in the first film, or if it was for something else. The sex-crazed Austin is very tame in this new film and Myers seems to be going through the paces and trying to force the laughs rather than let them come naturally. There are sub-plots of Dr.Evil, Minnie Me (Vern Troyer), and Scott Evil(Seth Green) having their usual squabbles but the whole film unfolds as a series of sketches centered on numerous celebrity cameos. Confused yet, it seems most of the cast is as the so-called plot is nothing more than a series of sketches designed to place Myers and his numerous personas in one situation after another to get to an often crude punch line that is nothing more than slight variations on gags from the previous two films in the series. There is the silhouette gag where things seems to be something very disturbing from another viewpoint, the random objects standing in for human anatomy, the Dr.Evil and Scott banter, and the sadly misused Fat Bastard (Myers) spouting much the same lines from the last film.

The chemistry amongst Knowles and Myers is lacking, especially when compared to the fantastic work done by Liz Hurley and Heather Graham as the past leading ladies, and the famous Austin libido has been all but eliminated as he spends more time spouting one-liners than he does chasing women and acting upon his boasts.

There is an attempt by Myers and Director Jay Roach to broaden the character of Powers as we learn that he is estranged from his father Nigel (Michael Caine), and that he seeks to win the approval of his father. This feature is sadly tossed in more as an afterthought and is largely unexplored at the waste of the fine talents of Myers and Caine.

As a fan of the first two films in the series, I looked forward to the release of the third chapter of the series however, it seems however that this franchise has run out of gas, and this film exists for no other reason than to get as much cash as it can, rather than to give viewers a film worthy of the previous ones in the series. The dispute over the name of the film between MGM and New Line was actually a far more interesting story than this extended Saturday Night Live sketch, and shows just had sad, tired and uninspired this film is when a corporate squabble is the most interesting moment to arise from this film.

Local PR has asked that reviewers not mention large aspects of the plot as well as the celebrity cameos making it difficult to go into detail as to why I did not like most of the film. There are some laughs in the film, good ones, but they are too far apart and too few to save this film. My advice, see it at a matinee or better yet, wait for the video and watch it with the other two in the company of some good friends.

2.5 stars out of 5