I’m not exactly a big fan of the “Austin Powers” franchise, and in fact I’ve only seen a few scenes from the first sequel, and don’t quite remember enough about the original to make an informed judgment on it. “Austin Powers: Goldmember” is the third installment in the popular Comedy franchise that lampoons the excess and by-the-numbers plotting of the James Bond movies. And if I know one thing about Hollywood, it’s that the enormous success of “Goldmember” has guaranteed a fourth in the franchise sometime in the near future.
“Goldmember” opens with Austin Powers (Mike Myers) learning that his father (Michael Caine), also an “international man of mystery” (that is, a spy), has been captured by Dr. Evil (also Myers) for whatever reason. Besides battling his old foe Powers, Dr. Evil has plans to bring an evil kingpin from the ’70s into the present to achieve some evil dastardly scheme for world domination. Or some such nonsense.
The “Austin Powers” movies are all about being as funny as possible without bothering with anything as inane as logic or common sense. “Goldmember”, like the previous two, has franchise creator/star/writer Mike Myers playing different roles, including the main character, the main character’s arch nemesis, and a string of others. Goldmember, the evil kingpin mentioned above, is also played by Myers as a crazed Dutchman with a bad lisp and an unhealthy fixation on gold. (Goldmember likes to turn people’s, er, private parts into gold.)
Another character, Fat Bastard, returns from “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” in an extended (and extremely hilarious) cameo. Let’s just say that Myers, who has been doing comedy all his life, knows when to put on the makeup and when to let someone else step into the rubber suit. Which means that whenever you see Myers onscreen in yet another role, it means that character will be funny, or else Myers would never have touched it.
“Goldmember” has a number of terrific scenes that is laugh out loud funny. On more than one occasion I was laughing so hard at a joke that I couldn’t hear or see what was happening onscreen post-joke. Yes, it’s that funny. Although it should be said that most of the riotously funny scenes involve Dr. Evil and his army of lame henchmen, including his son Scotty (Seth Green), who can’t quite get into the groove of being a “lame bad guy.”
The “Austin Powers” franchise has gotten so popular with the mainstream movie going audience and with the Hollywood elite that the first few minutes of “Goldmember” is a who’s who of movie stars making cameos. Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, and even Steven Spielberg show up in a movie-within-a-movie sequence. You know you’ve become more than just a franchise when top names like Cruise and Spielberg are willing to make fools of themselves just to grace your movie with their famous mugs.
There really is no point in talking about the plot of “Goldmember”, since everyone (including the filmmakers and the audience) knows they’re unimportant. For instance, when the film needs Austin Powers to arrest Dr. Evil, Powers just shows up at Dr. Evil’s lair and, well, arrests him. And when the film needs Dr. Evil back into the joke and out of prison, Dr. Evil just, well, escapes.
Current “Destiny’s Child” lead singer Beyonce Knowles makes her film debut here as a ’70s superspy who journeys back to the future with Powers to battle Goldmember. Knowles is not an actor by any stretch of the imagination, and thankfully she has no extraneous lifting to do and manages to not make a total fool of herself.
Jay Roach (director) / Mike Myers, Michael McCullers (screenplay)
CAST: Mike Myers …. Austin Powers/Dr. Evil/Goldmember/Fat Bastard
Beyonc’ Knowles …. Foxxy Cleopatra
Seth Green …. Scott Evil
Michael York …. Basil Exposition
Robert Wagner …. Number Two