Monday, March 10, 2014

#1,302. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

Directed By: Jay Roach

Starring: Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Seth Green

Tag line: "A New Breed of Evil"

Trivia: Heather Graham reprised her role as Felicity Shagwell in a scene that was ultimately cut

Telling a cohesive story has never been one of the strengths of Mike Myers’ Austin Powers trilogy (which began in 1997 with International Man of Mystery and continued with ’99s The Spy Who Shagged Me), and the final entry, 2002’s Austin Powers in Goldmember, has the flimsiest plot of the three. That said, it also contains some of the series’ funniest moments.

After thwarting yet another of Dr. Evil’s (Mike Myers) schemes, Austin Powers (Myers), Britain’s top secret agent, is invited to Buckingham Palace where he’s to be knighted by the Queen. But what starts as the greatest honor he’s ever received ends in disappointment when his absentee father, super-spy Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), fails to turn up for the ceremony. As Austin soon discovers, though, the reason his father wasn’t there is that he’s been kidnapped by Goldmember (yep… Myers!), a Dutch millionaire with a fetish for all things gold, who’s taken the elder Powers back in time to 1975. With the help of his time machine / pimpmobile, Austin follows them to the mid-‘70s, where he reconnects with Foxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles), an old flame working undercover for the F.B.I. During a showdown in a New York disco, Goldmember grabs Nigel Powers and hops into a time portal that carries the two of them back to 2002. Once there, Goldmember joins Dr. Evil in his submarine lair and sets in motion his plot to destroy the world (a tractor beam will drag a passing meteor into the earth’s atmosphere, causing it to crash into the polar ice caps, which, once melted, will flood every single continent). Can Austin, aided by Foxy and a few of his friends, stop Goldmember and Dr. Evil from carrying out their diabolical plan? Well… what do you think?

The jokes come fast and furious in Goldmember, starting with an action-packed opening sequence, a movie-within-a-movie featuring cameos by Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Steven Spielberg. The regular cast of characters is on-hand as well, including Dr. Evil’s usual cronies, Number Two (Robert Wagner) and Frau Farbissinia (Mindy Sterling); his son Scott (Seth Green); and his clone Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Even Fat Bastard (Myers again), Dr. Evil’s incredibly obese henchman, makes a cameo appearance, posing as a sumo wrestler. As far as new faces go, Michael Caine obviously had a great time playing Nigel Powers (I love the scene where he dresses down some of Dr. Evil’s anonymous henchmen), while Beyoncé’s Foxy Cleopatra is as tough as she is pretty (unlike the female leads in the other two films, Foxy is more a partner to Austin than she is a love interest). As for the title character, Goldmember isn’t as strong a presence as the other three personalities portrayed by Myers, but does, on occasion, manage to sneak in a few memorable lines (“Would you like a schmoke and a pancake?”). Two of the more impressive additions to the cast are featured in a flashback sequence, in which Austin and Dr. Evil are teenagers and fellow spies-in-training. The actors playing the young adversaries: Aaron Himelstein (as Austin) and Josh Zuckerman (Dr. Evil), do an amazing job mimicking their older counterparts, delivering what’s easily one of the film’s best scenes.

An unrelenting barrage of slapstick (poor Mini-Me gets tossed around like a rag doll in this movie), sight gags (A later scene where Austin and Mini-Me are behind a screen in a doctor’s office is hilarious), sexual innuendo (early on, Austin meets a pair of sexy Asian twins, played by Diane Mizota and Carrie Ann Inaba, named “Fook Mi” and “Fook Yu”), and the odd musical number (Dr. Evil’s hip-hop rendition of “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” is a definite highlight), Goldmember abandons story in favor of an all-out comedic assault, and in the process generates more laughs than either of its predecessors.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This trilogy doesn't get nearly enough respect - it is an affectionate take-off on not only James Bond but also "In Like Flint" - and you are right - this third movie has a lot of laughs. Nice post!