Internet muckraker Matt Drudge recently reported that the "President" screened the latest installment of the Austin Powers saga at Camp David and "already wants to see it again."
Perhaps Mr. Bush thinks the subtle nuances of Mike Myers' scatological saga demand a second viewing. Maybe he just has a lot of time on his hands. Question is, will you like Goldmember? Some people do. Try this simple test:
Caca. Pee pee. Doo doo. (With me still?) Poop, balls, stinky dump. Piss. (Laffing yet?) Wee willie, enormous Johnson, golden rod. Knockers, boobies, man-mammaries. If you're still reading, you may have a sufficient interest in toilet humor to sit through the latest Austin Powers until the bitter end. But maybe not.
Goldmember starts with a couple of minutes of real hilarity: Zooming through the desert, it takes a temporary leave from the '60s to ape the John Woo aesthetic that has taken over the James Bond franchise. With a couple of smart celebrity cameos and some stylistic excess, it gets you in the mood.
Then the scene shifts to Dr. Evil's lair, and a sense of desperation immediately kicks in. Dr. Evil isn't a character anymore; he is Mike Myers in bad makeup, trying to milk gags that were only briefly funny in the last film. Seth Green, as Evil's son, reacts to all this with an appropriate level of disdain, voicing the viewer's weariness for a joke that's not working. Unfortunately, it's the only scene in the film in which Green's allowed to do this; from here on, he's trying to win his father's approval by out-Eviling him.
Cut back to the good guys: Powers is sent to the '70s, where he meets Foxy Cleopatra, played by Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny's Child. "Foxy" is an understatement: Knowles is enormously sexy, and is introduced in a nightclub sequence that allows her to sing briefly. But after this and a clever comic bit involving Nathan Lane, Knowles is thrown away; she's window dressing for the rest of the film, and with the quantity of gross-out material Myers is throwing our way, it's hard to appreciate her even on that level.
Gross-out material ... where to begin? We again have the repellent Fat Bastard (the Jar-Jar Binks of the Powers franchise), who is, naturally, naked for most of his screen time, and gets an unbelievably huge chunk of dialogue in which he describes the putrid smell of his own bowel movement. We get the titular (ha! he said "tit"!) Goldmember, a boringly bizarre villain who likes peeling off bits of his dried-out skin and eating them. We're treated to not one but two scenes in which supposed urine sprays forth as if from a faucet with a faulty washer (and those are just to break the monotony of the conventional urination happening onscreen).
Where the original Powers used this kind of humor in places where it actually made sense (like Austin's visit to the urinal after three decades in suspended animation), this one relieves itself at random, like a pet who hasn't been housebroken. And if you're going to have your hero pissing in the lobby of a Japanese corporation, it only makes sense that a plate of asparagus would magically appear as a mid-micturition snack ...
There are a few jokes in the film's last hour that don't involve excretion. Most of them involve sex organs. It's difficult to think of more than three that don't: There's a nice five-second Godzilla gag, a one-liner from Michael Caine, playing Austin's neglectful father, and an inspired bit involving subtitles. You could chop 'em all out, add them to the opening scene, and have a five minute movie that is every bit as entertaining as the seemingly endless river of excrement that is Goldmember.
But maybe you like that sort of thing.
AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER
"On its own terms, it's poo-poo"
Dir. Jay Roach; writ. Mike Myers & Michael McCullers; feat. Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Michael York, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer (PG-13)
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