Review by Jack Foley
AS SUPERSPY James Bond prepares to Die Another Day, shagadelic 007 wannabe
Austin Powers polishes off his mojo for another groovy outing, hoping to make
it third time lucky for the swinging Sixties sex machine at the summer Box
Goldmember marks another comedy triumph for the talented Mike Myers, building on the success of its predecessors to deliver another crowd-pleasing tour de force, even if it occasionally feels a little too familiar.
Opening with a veritable who's who of A-list cameos (we're talking Tom Cruise, among others!) for the obligatory pre-credits sequence, Goldmember then sets about parodying the best (and worst) of the James Bond franchise, while taking a generous side-swipe at anything else in its way.
And if it seems tired at times (repeating gags from the first two movies and bringing back characters, such as Fat Bastard, who were largely unwanted), it is credit to Myers and director Jay Roach that this third instalment still possesses enough in its locker room to get a rise out of the most hard to please audiences.
This time around, Austin must travel back in time to 1975 to rescue his father (Michael Caine) from the clutches of new villain, Goldmember, before returning to the present day to do battle with Dr Evil and his cronies. Aiding him is Beyoncé (Destiny's Child) Knowles's sassy Foxxy Cleopatra and Michael York's stiff upper-lipped Basil Exposition, while pitted against him are the usual crowd of misfits, comprised of Dr Evil, Mini-Me (Verne Troyer), Scott Evil (Seth Green) and Number Two (Robert Wagner).
As with previous Powers movies - International Man of Mystery in 1997 and The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999 - Goldmember starts off very brightly before losing some of its momentum later on, partly due to Myers' appetite for introducing new characters, some of whom aren't necessary.
So while Dr Evil and Mini-Me remain tremendous fun when on-screen (their rendition of 'Hard Knock Life', from prison, is one of many highlights), the likes of Goldmember fail to generate the necessary giggles, tip-toeing the line between gross out and just plain gross (the Dutch villain has a fondness for eating his own flaky skin!) without ever seeming funny.
Fortunately, Myers manages to cram so many gags into a tight running time that audiences don't have to wait long in between laughs, while also providing the movie geeks among us with plenty of in-jokes to continue counting the references. On the Bond front, we have variations on the crocodile scene from Live and Let Die, and the laser between the legs sequence from Goldfinger, as well as countless other Naked Gun-style take-offs from other movies such as The Matrix and The Italian Job.
Less subtle, but still very funny, is Myers' use of toilet humour (urine gets two cameos), as well as his reliance on suggestive shadows (used first in The Spy Who Shagged Me and again here).
But it is clear throughout that Myers holds the Austin Powers franchise with very deep affection and his enthusiasm for the character is infectious. At the end of the day, this is all about laughter and the comedian delivers it by the cameo-laden bucketload. So go and feel good for a while...