© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
Directed by: Jay Roach
After the huge successes of bawdy spy spoofs Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), Mike Myers, mastermind behind these parodies, returns in the role of the erotically-charged, swinging titular Brit with his key compatriots (in front of and behind the camera), in a third installment: Austin Powers In Goldmember.
Like the genre it's lampooning, Goldmember's plot contains science-fictional elements, the real raison d'être of the proceedings being the near non-stop barrage of schtick and jokes and the antics of the performers that this film definitely delivers.
The movie begins with a prologue filled with major stars in hilarious cameos, many involving surprising impersonations and one bit with Steven Speilberg as himself. Once the story, such as it is, gets going, it concerns Austin (Mike Myers) yet again confronting his familiar foe, Dr. Evil (also Myers) who, to help him in his latest plan to take over the world, has used the time machine from the previous films to transport from 1975, a criminal mastermind.
This malefactor, the very eccentric, skin-flake eating Dutchman Johann van der Smut AKA Goldmember (Myers again), gets his moniker from "an unfortunate smelting accident" which forced him to replace his pivot parts with the eponymous, er - thing! Goldmember and Dr. Evil jointly conspire to lure our hero into their clutches by kidnapping Austin's father Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), a famous super-secret agent in his own right.
Also part of their nefarious notions, the duo of maldoers have conceived of "Preparation H", a plot to build a tractor beam that will propel a meteor into the polar ice caps, inundating the world unless the Leading Industrial Powers pay them a huge sum of money. Helping accomplish all this, familiar minions from the first two productions make welcome returns: Dr. Evil's diminutive clone Mini-Me (Verne Troyer); Number Two (Robert Wagner), Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) and a newcomer called Number Three (Fred Savage), actually a mole with a mole - an excuse for more humor.
Before the dastardly deed can be implemented, Dr. Evil gets caught and sent to a maximum security prison where Austin convents him in a scene ribbing Silence Of The Lambs.
Here Dr. Evil, in exchange for transfer to a minimum security facility, informs our hero that back in 1975, his father is being held captive by Goldmember. While in jail, Dr. Evil reunited with his beloved Mini-Me, perform a brilliantly funny parody of hip-hop music videos and an equally comic escape routine.
On the rescue mission, added to the stop-the-bad-guys bit, we get treated to Austin dealing with the emotional turmoil he feels after years of neglect from his absentee father, feelings he must put aside in order to be able to save his parent from Goldmember's captivity. This adds some interesting dimensions to the protagonist who then, using a time-traveling pimp-mobile devised under the supervision of his ever-trustworthy spymaster Basil
Exposition (Michael York), flashes back to 1975. There he enlists the aid of an old flame, a top-notch undercover detective named Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles of the Destiny's Child pop group), her performance an homage perfectly embodying Blaxploitation heroine Pam Grier. Gorgeous, feisty and radiant, Beyonce impresses with her moxie that can measure up to Myer's mojo anytime!
Austin Powers In Goldmember, like its predecessors, abounds in sight gags; innuendoes; groaner puns; slapstick humor; gross bodily function jokes; and abundant references to wide variety of pop cultural phenomena. All this gets punctuated with enough clever pop song and dance numbers with witty choreography to qualify the movie as a borderline musical. Self-referential bits add to the fun along with outrageous variations on recurring routines: once again a sequence of what only appears to be bizarre autoerotic rituals pantomimed in silhouette behind a screen; and a series of quick cutaways wherein a sentence started in one scene gets completed in the next with a loaded double entendre. More great moments include: a scene with seemingly profane subtitles partially illegible against strategically placed white objects in the background; another use of subtitles to translate Austin and Nigel's rhyming Cockney slang dialog; a very peculiar ornamental fountain relating to pissing humor; the names of flirtatious, nubile Japanese female twins; and countless more.
All this wackiness succeeds because of Mike Myer's comic genius (aided by Jay Roach's deft direction), his unbounded energy in the service of expressing his sense of fun and his affection for everything he parodies - Myer's humor deriving from this fondness for his material and the absence of malice. The genuine love underneath the zaniness gives the Austin Powers phenomenon its free-wheeling zest, an infectious exuberance that energizes the very talented performers that work with Myers and the brilliant back-stage crew that produces the dazzling visuals - the witty sets, costumes (check out Beyonce's lovely fox-motif jewelry), SPFX, and music.
For an unabashedly, good-natured raunchy good time, Austin Powers In Goldmember gives the finger to Goldfinger by being a heck of whole lot more FUN and whole lot lewder!