[MOVIE REVIEW]Austin starting to lose his comedic PowersNot all poop jokes are created equal.
But try telling that the Mike Myers, who democratically gives us every sort of potty humor imaginable -- occasionally witty and surprising, but more often gratuitous and grotesque, or at least juvenile.
The Canadian comedian Myers once again plays the swinging spy from the past Austin Powers (not to mention Austin's nemesis Dr. Evil, the bloated Scotsman Fat Bastard and the newest villain in the series, the peely-skinned Goldmember).
This time around, daddy issues take center stage, as Austin must journey back in time to the 1970s to save his father (Michael Caine), who was kidnapped by the gold-obsessed disco king Goldmember.
While boogying around in the past, Austin encounters an old flame, Foxxy Cleopatra (Destiny Child's Beyonc?Knowles). They team up and return to the present for the big showdown with the whole cluttered cast.
The original film "Austin Powers" had a creative concept -- the British playboy spy of the 1960s, brought to the present, only to find his hedonistic, flashy ways sadly out of date. Sure, the film had its share of sex jokes, but it also had wit and creativity.
But two sequels and countless millions of dollars later, that premise has long been left behind. Austin has gone from a hipster-out-of-water to a genuine stud, and wit has been replaced by vulgar excess.
Which is not, mind you, necessarily a bad thing. When vulgar works, and it does work surprisingly often in "Goldmember," it's pretty funny. When it does not, however, it is annoyingly puerile.
The other problem is that the franchise has become a victim of its own success and familiarity. Many of the jokes in "Goldmember" are rehashes and variations of those in the first two movies. Myers seems to think that as long as he points out that the jokes are lame rehashes, it disarms the criticism. It doesn't.
In general, too often Myers gives himself too much free rein to monkey around in a way that must have been fun while filming, but is much less fun watching.
After coming up with three great characters, the fourth, Goldmember, is just too much, and there isn't anything really memorable about the insane Dutchman.
Michael Caine does a great job as Austin's absent lothario of a father. And Seth Green, as Dr. Evil's son Scott, is too funny as he finally takes up the mantle of evil and makes his father proud.
There are certainly some comic highlights. The opening has one of the best moments of the Austin series, and the surprises at the end are a hoot. And at last, yes, we finally get freakin' sharks with freakin' lasers on their heads. Huzzah!
by Mark Russell