Film Reviews

AUSTIN POWERS in GOLDMEMBER

By • Jul 26th, 2002 •

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The best thing about AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER-the surprise guest appearances-can’t be revealed, and why ruin it here? It starts off impressively and I liked the energy of the opening, but it loses something once the story gets started. The early musical numbers are enjoyable, with Austin Powers (Mike Meyers) showing past and silly enthusiasm. It’s fun, but a psychological mess, with Austin Powers bumping his head on the way out of the closet.

It opens with Austin Powers now a celebrity and a movie is being made about him. Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) is ensconced in his Hollywood lair, planning to blackmail the planet for a lot of money or he’ll have an asteroid melt the North Pole and blanket Earth in water. This is the best I can do summarizing the plot. Dr. Evil, still assisted by his cloned-sidekick Mini Me (Verne Troyer) has enlisted the help of Goldmember (Mike Meyers), a Dutch fanatic without a penis. Dr. Evil still has his entourage with him: Number Two (Robert Wagner), Frau Farbissna (Mindy Sterling), and his son Scott (Seth Green). Austin still has Basil (Michael York), and is ably assisted by a new female partner, agent Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles).

The story of the beginnings of these characters is nicely done, but this is really about the troubling relationships between fathers and sons. Nigel Powers (Michael Caine) has been an absentee father and Austin sings a tribute song lamenting his rejection. Dr. Evil still has issues with his son, though Scott is not as belittling and dismissive as formerly shown. The outcomes of these highly emotional dramas are unsatisfying and pose the question-why?

The Austin Powers brand of humor is still in evidence, steeped in body smells and toilet functions. Fat Bastard’s (Mike Meyers) and Austin’s dalliances with women are nowhere to be found. However, the real surprise is the unrelenting visual and verbal gay humor. Austin doesn’t lust after women; he does get tangled up in many sexual innuendos with men. One such sight gag suggests Austin is urinating into the mouth of an unconscious guard.

I understand the comedic tension that “gay-themed” humor elicits in the male audience, but the constant onslaught in AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER begs the point: Intentional comedy device or hidden agenda?

Mike Meyers seems troubled as Austin. It’s as if he’s undergoing some unspoken psychological crisis. The playfulness is gone. As in the past two Austin Powers, Dr. Evil is still fascinating, especially when, along with Mimi Me, they land in prison. And, finally, make sure to stay for the credits.

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