Genre: Comedy and Spy Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.
Release Date: July 26th, 2002 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Jay Roach Actors: Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Michael Caine, Fred Savage, Diane Mizota, Carrie Ann Inaba, Nobu Matsuhisa
ince the previous films never bothered to kill off any of the characters – particularly the villains – this third part sees the reappearance of nearly every role, save for the women. In true 007 style, each chapter makes sure to change up the love interests. This one also begins with a self-aware spoof of itself (a movie-within-a-movie), no longer concerned with focusing on James Bond parodying as much as merely paying homage to the concepts created in the prior two features. Steven Spielberg, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, and Gwyneth Paltrow are just a few of the cameos that pop up to support this (hopefully) final episode.
The story proper involves bungling madman Dr. Evil (Mike Myers), now holed up in a lair in Hollywood, plotting to time travel once again to 1975 to kidnap longtime rival Austin Powers (also Mike Myers). But Powers interrupts the meeting to arrest the notorious doctor, who is eventually sentenced to hundreds of years in prison. When Austin is knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for the monumental apprehension, his father Nigel (Michael Caine) fails to attend, igniting some deep-seated parental issues he thought he’d suppressed.
When Ministry of Defense leader Basil Exposition (Michael York) informs Austin that Nigel’s absence was due to an unexplained disappearance, Powers recognizes that only a single criminal mastermind could be behind this certain abduction. A Dutch hedonist, who loved gold so much that he lost his genitals in a freak smelting accident (leading to his nickname), “Goldmember” (yet another role for Myers) is unquestionably the man behind the scheme. In exchange for a transfer to the same prison as his pint-sized clone Mini Me (Verne Troyer), Dr. Evil divulges that Goldmember is hiding in 1975. Yet despite journeying back in time to rescue his father, and finding unlikely assistance in undercover FBI Agent Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles), Austin must return to 2002 to foil the dastardly intentions of the gold-obsessed maniac.
“Austin Powers in Goldmember” has lost almost all of the amusement of the formulaic spy spoofing from before, now relying heavily on verbal riffs that involve so much gibberish and repetitive nonsense that few are even remotely humorous (especially considering 95% of it all is recycled material). Many of the conversations just trail off with no punchline. Production values, however, have advanced – as entertainment value sinks correspondingly. Dance numbers and endless homages to itself fill the majority of the runtime, with Mini Me still receiving far too much attention (his entire character was only ever a one-note joke carried on until total exhaustion) and the likes of Fat Bastard showing up for continued farting and visual yucks. But perhaps the most disappointing new addition is Goldmember himself, who is such an astoundingly uninspired villain (with a silly accent and a hopelessly weird, completely unfunny penchant for eating his own skin flakes) that it’s a wonder one of the writers didn’t just stop Myers from elaborating on the original pitch. “That is not funny,” insists Austin to his neglectful father, and again to Foxxy after a sexual comment, summing up the unforgivable fault to this terrible close to the trilogy. Even the outtakes during the end credits are utterly humorless.
– Mike Massie