Goldmember (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film, the third installment of the Austin Powers series, got decidedly mixed reviews from the critics, but I didn't think it was substantially different in quality from the first two, maybe down a little because it tried to wrap up some plot threads. Mini-me leaves Evil Enterprises to go work for Austin. Dr Evil, Austin, and Austin's dad reconcile. Scott Evil reconciles with the Doc, but then breaks off again. And so forth.  That all took up some screen time without providing any laughs. Like we really care about the friggin' plot! The running time was further eaten up by re-introducing the characters from earlier films without giving them anything funny to do. Number Two, Basil, and Frau Farbissina were just there, nothing more. Just think of it as the "Return of the Jedi" of the series, and try to forget about Darth Vader waving g'bye to the camera.

Although that gratuitous characterization and some overlong song and dance numbers took up too much time, and despite the repetition of some gags from the previous films as well as within this film, and despite some continued unfunny obsessions with unpleasant bodily functions, there are some big belly laughs as well. I think the most incisive review was written by the Washington Post, which called it, "Puerile, pitiful, grotesque, offensive, immature, repulsive and, of course, extremely funny."



I think Michael Elliott of Movie Parables had the most incisive negative comment: "This multimillion dollar franchise has become somewhat tiresome... rather like an aging uncle who insists upon telling the same stories every time he visits." There is a lot of truth to that.

My highlights:

  • The first 15 minutes or so are not the movie proper, but a movie within a movie. In the film's universe, Austin is so popular that they are making a movie about him. Tom Cruise plays Austin, Kevin Spacey plays Dr. Evil, Spielberg plays himself as the director, but the guy who steals that part of the show is Danny DeVito as Mini-Me. It also features a brilliant parody of the James Bond openings. The audience was in stitches.
  • There are some funny flashbacks to the main characters in Spy Prep School, with the teenagers doing excellent send-ups of Austin, Evil, Number Two, and Basil Exposition.
  • There is a hilarious fight scene between Austin and Mini-me. That little guy is a real trouper.
  • Ya gotta love the dance number that Austin does with Britney Spears.
  • There are some other fun cameos as well.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Commentary by Jay Roach and Mike Myers

  • 12 behind-the-scenes featurettes

  • 4 music videos

  • The World of Austin Powers

  • Visual FX Segment

  • 24 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes

  • DVD-ROM: Austin Powers Revoice Studio (record your own voice to certain scenes)

  • Full-screen format

To me, the best thing about Mike Myers is his complete passion for his projects. He's just out there, givin' it everything he has, ingenuous, silly, sometimes dumb, but so damned enthusiastic that you can't help but be swept away by his buoyancy. Galdarn it, the kid actually wants to entertain us, and he'll do anything to make us laugh, no matter how flamboyant, no matter how silly. Ya really gotta kinda love that in an environment where Jim Carrey and Robin Williams want to be "thespians".

As for this particular movie, I laughed so much in the first 20 minutes, that I honestly didn't care that the rest of the film often slowed to a crawl.

By the way, if you ever wondered what became of Fred Savage from The Wonder Years, he's in this as Number Three.

The Critics Vote

  • General USA consensus two and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, Entertainment Weekly B

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.6/10, Yahoo voters 3.6/5 , Guardian voters 6.6/10, Metacritic voters 6.4/10
  • Box Office Mojo. A smash! It was budgeted at $63 million for production, and the distribution/advertising costs were estimated around $50 million. It grossed $213 million in the USA, so the studio had already broken even before foreign, rental, or retail income.
  • Exit interviews: Cinema Score. B+ overall. It scored very high with younger audience, but in the C/C+ range with viewers over 35.



IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Fans will be satisfied. Powerhouse appeal against teen audience, adults will like a lot of it as well.

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