You Already Laughed TwiceBy Sandra M. Chung
Written by Mike Myers
Directed by Jay Roach
Starring Mike Myers, BeyoncÉ Knowles, Verne Troyer, Michael Caine, Mindy Sterling, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner
Goldmember shares two important features with the other highly anticipated film of this summer, Attack of the Clones: two of its villains have the same DNA, and viewing its predecessors is a prerequisite to understanding the current film. The third installment in Mike Myers’ James Bond spoof series quite shamelessly rips off most of popular culture in an entertaining rehash of the first two Austin Powers movies.
This time, everyone’s favorite classless British agent faces the combined menace of the fatuous Dr. Evil and a new Dutch villain named Goldmember. The Man With the Golden One is the victim of an “unfortunate smelting accident” and a strangely fitted jogging suit. Together, Dr. Evil and Goldmember want to take over the world with a humorously named and shaped but seriously dangerous device. Austin, as usual, saves the world from their nefarious plan. The rest of the clichÉd plot consists of time-travel, old flame, and absentee father storylines purchased off the department store rack.
A familiar cast returns to play familiar characters in predictable fashion. Seth Green, with his swaggering, teenybopper-hearthrob image, continues his unfunny stint as the whiny, needy Scott Evil. Verne Troyer and Mindy Sterling are irreplaceable as Mini-Me and the Frau with the commanding voice. Fat Bastard also returns as one of this film’s four manifestations of Myers’ raging multiple personality disorder (Dr. Evil, Austin and Goldmember are the other three).
One seasoned actor and one rookie make appearances in new roles. Nigel Powers, played by a well-cast Michael Caine, is the suave old block to Austin’s chip. Look for his memorable “fight” scene with Dr. Evil’s henchmen. BeyoncÉ Knowles of the popular R&B act Destiny’s Child sasses up the screen as Austin’s obligatory soup du jour Foxy Cleopatra. Knowles rides comfortably through her feature film debut on her spiced-up version of Julia Roberts charm, a combination of lovely looks and a sweet, refreshing presence. Though her performance doesn’t garner a standing ovation, she at least avoids following in the footsteps of Janet Jackson and Brandy. Goldmember puts her among the ranks of the Jennifer Lopez-Whitney Houston club of competent singer-actresses.
A thinly disguised rerun has to trump the original somehow. Star Wars Special Edition did it with a CG Jabba the Hutt, and Goldmember does it with some rather embarrassing cameos by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Fred Savage. Otherwise the visual gags are familiar (nothing can top the well-choreographed nude scenes in the original film), as is the over-the-top toilet humor and queer mixture of innuendo and bad teeth. If not new, Myers’ jokes are at least shameless, poking fun at their own recycled quality and making ample use of flashbacks.
Goldmember attests to the remarkable energy of Myers, who wrote the script and appears at least once in almost every minute of the film. The PG-13 rating is appropriate to his bawdy sense of humor; children can appreciate the toilet humor but not the innuendo, and vice versa for easily offended adults. Austin Powers will eventually be an old joke; but if you laughed at the first two, you’ll laugh at this one.