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*** BRONZEMEMBER ***
on 19 December 2002
So here it is the third instalment in one of the most popular and successful movie comedy franchises ever, Austin Powers in Goldmember, the follow up to the immensely popular and successful Spy Who Shagged Me. With Mike Myers reprising his role as writer/star, Beyonce Knowles as the new Powers girl and a cast which includes many of the biggest hitters in Hollywood, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Britney Spears, Danny Devito and Michael Caine (an inspired choice as Austin's father) this promised to be the funniest movie of the summer. However, rather than building upon The Spy Who Shagged Me, Goldmember is instead a collection of hit and miss sketches, several of which are pale imitations of his last movie, loosely connected into some kind of story.
Opening with an action-packed pre-credit James Bond like sequence, with cameos from many of Hollywood's biggest stars gets the movie off to a funny if somewhat irrelevant start, which is great if you like movies within movies, not so great if you don't. From there we get back into the real action with Dr Evil and Myer's latest character Goldmember (a Dutchman with a gold penis and bad skin, which he likes to eat) plotting once more to take over the world. So far so good you might think but herein one of the problems lies: the character Goldmember just isn't funny and is positively poor next to all of Mike Myers other characters, including a disappointingly under-used and very flatulent Fat Bastard who makes a welcome but all too brief return. There are some very funny visual and verbal gags of course and a few clever scenes that retrace Austin Powers and Dr Evil's childhoods but all in all there are just as many hits as misses and too many scenes that are obvious retreads of the previous movies most successful gags, such as the use of silhouettes, telling Sean to zip-it and the Jay-Z "It's A Hard Knock Life" routine. Okay so these scenes are still, to an extent, funny but nowhere near as funny as the first time you saw them.
As for the cast, Myer's is his usual brilliant comedic self, it's just that his self-penned lines are not as good as before. Verne Troyer is once again splendid as Mini Me and Destiny's child's Beyonce Knowles makes a sassy and sexy Foxy Cleopatra, whilst Seth Green (sporting a receding hairline) is quite fabulous as Dr Evil's son Sean. However, the star of the show in my view, is Michael Caine, with a marvellous comedic performance as Austin's father Nigel, delightfully sending up his Harry Palmer persona from the 1960's movies that first made him a star.
As for the movie as a whole, it is probably ideally suited to the DVD format more than any other movie out there, because on DVD you will be able to pick and choose which scenes you watch (and there are some very funny and very imaginative scenes). It is just that all n all you feel that you've seen it all before and seen it done better in the previous instalment. What is more the ending of the film suggests that not only is Mike Myers running out of new ideas for his spoof spy movies but that indeed it may be the end of this very profitable franchise. Still funny but not as funny as its predecessor: Three stars.