Austin Powers in Goldmember Review

by Karina Montgomery (karina AT cinerina DOT com)
July 26th, 2002

Austin Powers in Goldmember

Avoid at All Costs

Predictably, I hated this movie. No one who knows my tastes would be surprised by this statement, except for the fact that I saw it at all. However, what I found most irksome was not the inherent 60-70% unwatchability of the film, but the other 30-40% that was actually funny. Beyoncé Knowles and Michael Caine are the high points of the film.

The Austin Powers oeuvre has been marked with a gravely unfortunate dichotomy: these guys actually do have good ideas, and the capability of carrying them out. When the trilogy is actually spoofing the spy genre and the swinging 60's British sexy beast genre, they hit most of the time. Occasional other jokes also happen to score, just by statistics. But then the films are (increasingly) crippled by the terrible, pointless, lame stuff that honestly ruins everything. My companion wisely noted that if you took all 3 movies, snipped out all but the good bits, you would have a very, very funny movie (albeit a short one). This is worst of all.

Imagine a bowl of greasy slimy icky fried okra, or brussels sprouts, or some other distasteful, slimy food. Raw escargot. Then sprinkle in some truffles, or some maraschino cherries, or some such treat. Stir. This is the Austin Powers film experience. For every brilliant moment (for example, casting Michael Caine as Austin's father), there are nuggets of blecch barring your finding it. It makes it not worth the effort of digging out the truffles; and when you do, they are soiled by association. Do I need to mention that the gags (good and bad) go on and on and on?

Readers who know me know I can find humor in the puerile, the scatalogical, and even the absurd. I don't require much more than just not to be bored and/or insulted when it comes to comedy. I was so furious when I left the theatre that again I was inundated with pointless, random, unfocused yap and poop jokes that don't even make sense. At least the sheer, unbridled crassness of the American Pie school of filmmaking serves the story. What is the purpose of the ancient, been there done that penis jokes during a scene that we should be worrying about our hero being discovered?

The best thing about the film is the opening, which I won't ruin for you, but seriously, as soon as we get to Evil's lair, just bug out of there. Dr. Evil was always my favorite of the characters (bless him for not mugging as much as the rest of them) but he has fallen prey to the "what are they talking about?" joke machine. And don't get me started on the character of Goldmember, who was pointlessly weird and gross (unlike Fat Bastard, who had a point to being weird and gross). Gags that even post-To Be Or Not To Be Mel Brooks gave up on in the 1980's are all over the screen as if Mel had never existed - or done them better. The pacing makes Spaceballs look like Ace Ventura.
If they insist on continuing to make these movies, they should stick with the spy stuff and even the time travel stuff - more Peter York and Robert Wagner and less Mini Me and Ad Nauseum. It's horrible to see the intelligence shimmering behind the poopy.

These reviews (c) 2002 Karina Montgomery. Please feel free to forward but just credit the reviewer in the text. Thanks.
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