November 3, 2002 -- "Austin Powers in Goldmember" is a series of brief comedy sketches in search of a plot. The sketches are strung together like mismatched beads on a necklace. Some work, some don't. The only saving graces are that the film never takes itself seriously and it is mostly good-natured fun without as much gross humor as the last Austin Powers film ("The Spy Who Shagged Me").
That is not to say the film is entirely without the urination, flatulence, gonad-kicking, sexual and other below-the-belt humor that fans have come to expect from the series. It wouldn't really be an Austin Powers film without those kinds of knee-slappers. These sorts of jokes propelled the last film in the series to ticket sales of over $280 million worldwide. I liked the first film in the series ("Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery") because it was a pretty good parody of the James Bond films. I disliked the second and third films in the series because the screenplays were quite a bit less clever. I avoided this film until I could see it at the local discount theater. At $3 a ticket, it was about $2 too expensive.
There are some funny comedy sketches in the film, including some scenes involving celebrity cameos. The cameos include the Osbourne family, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Britney Spears, Danny DeVito, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nathan Lane, Quincy Jones, Katie Couric and Burt Bacharach. Several of these stars appear in a movie-within-a-movie about Austin Powers directed by Steven Spielberg. Most of the main characters in the film reprise their roles from previous films in the series, including Austin Powers (Mike Meyers, who also plays Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard and Johan "Goldmember" van der Smutt), Scott Evil (Seth Green), Basil Exposition (Michael York of "The Omega Code"), Number Two (Robert Wagner of "Play it to the Bone"), Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) and Dr. Evil's clone, Mini Me (Verne Troyer of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone").
The plot has to do with a multi-billion dollar ransom plan by Dr. Evil to use the threat of a global flood caused by a meteor hitting and the polar ice cap. Opposing Dr. Evil is Austin Powers and his sidekick CIA operative Foxxy Cleopatra (played by singer Beyoncé Knowles of "Destiny's Child") and Nigel Powers (Michael Caine of "Miss Congeniality"), Austin's father.
The film spends little time on the story. It is often sidetracked by barely related blackout comedy skits. There is also an awkward time travel component in the story that doesn't work very well. There are some laughs in the movie, but it is a poorly constructed film with characters who are not interesting. It is more like a musical comedy TV show than a movie in its construction. It does have more structure to it than "Jackass: The Movie," but not a lot more. If you could make your own DVD and edit out everything except for the 15 to 20 minutes of funny stuff, then you'd have something. This film rates a C.
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