The first one was original. The second one was funny. But does the third one have any juice left?
Austin Powers in Goldmember tells the story of the out-of-place secret agent as he tries to save his father from the clutches of Dr. Evil and another villain properly named Goldmember, and the world from absolute destruction. His sidekick this time is the beautiful Foxy Cleopatra, a woman pulled out of time from 1975. The story doesn't matter much in a movie like this, but the jokes sure do, and Austin Powers in Goldmember is a mixed back of surprises and the same old things.
Not unexpectedly, Mike Myers, who not only wrote the movie but also stars as most of the main characters, chose to use a lot of the gags from the previous films, so as to get some easy laughs from the audience. He pulls it off a little bit, but for the most part fails - at least, the audience isn't quite as excepting as they were for The Spy Who Shagged Me. The opening dancing sequence drew hardly any laughs from the crowd, the new take on the "Shh" and "Zip it" sequences is pathetically unoriginal and not at all funny, and there are several other familiar scenes that just aren't as great this time around. The shadow scene, where some henchmen view Austin do what appears to be very strange actions behind a sheet is funny, but nowhere as hilarious or thought out as in the other films. That seems to be the case for the whole movie; it's still funny, but not nearly as funny as the last two films. We've seen most of it before, and we don't want to see it again.
Austin Powers 3 survives, however, in some freshness that the professional critics overlooked. The opening sequence is utterly hilarious - even if it is based solely on cameo appearances. Mike Myers manages to throw in a few very clever lines here and there that spark a round of laughter from the crowd. It is little things like this, original jokes and gags, that can make a sequel good; Austin Powers 3 has just enough of this to keep it afloat.
If there is to be a fourth film, Mike Myers needs to sit back and look at what made the series popular to begin with. The whole concept is funny because a horny secret agent from the 1960's is stuck in modern day times. The Spy Who Shagged Me forgot that it was a spy spoof, but still was really funny; Goldmember has also forgotten the point of itself, but is still trying to recycle the jokes leftover from the first one. It's not going to work any longer.
Austin Powers in Goldmember is moderately funny, but there are several stretches where the audience, and myself, just weren't laughing. There are some great, hilarious scenes in the movie, but it is not even as close to consistent in the comedy department as the first two films.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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