Picks and Pans Review: Austin Powers in Goldmember
Get to your seat late and you risk missing the single best part of Austin Powers in Goldmember. This cheerful third installment of the comic adventures of England's swingingest secret agent begins with a hilarious, cameo-stocked—we're talking big, big names—parody of the obligatory opening stunt sequences in James Bond films. It's followed by a massive musical number in which Austin Powers (Myers), making like a pixieish Gene Kelly, prances across a studio back lot in a dead-on spoof of with-it '60s groovefests. All that's missing is Nancy Sinatra in white go-go boots.
Goldmember never again quite scales those heady heights, though Powers is undeniably one of the screen's great recent comic creations. Myers's genius is that he uses the oversexed, choppers-challenged spy—along with three other characters whom he plays: the villainous Dr. Evil, the corpulent Scotsman Fat Bastard and a new, nasty Dutch disco king named Goldmember—to satirize cultural ephemera. Disco, gangsta rap, Cockney slang and blaxploitation films all get zapped as Powers zips across the decades, to 1975 and the present, while trying to rescue his kidnapped father. Dad is Nigel Powers, himself a celebrated spy and bon vivant, who's played to toothy perfection by Caine.
It's all rather silly and the potty humor overflows at times, but director Jay Roach (who directed the two previous Powers pictures) keeps the laughs coming during the film's 94-min. running time. Dr. Evil again gets all the best lines and routines, particularly when paired with the returning Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Pop singer Knowles, playing secret agent Foxxy Cleopatra, isn't called upon to do more than project pulchritude and attitude. She aces both. (PG-13)
Bottom Line: A grooveable feast