Austin Powers In Goldmember

2002, Movie, PG-13, 94 mins

Review

AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER
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Austin Powers (Mike Myers) may be a super-suave international man of mystery, but at heart he's just a neglected lad with unresolved issues. Austin's quest to win paternal respect is complicated by the fact that his father is Nigel Powers (Michael Caine), the most revered and sublimely shagadelic British spy of all time. The movie opens in the present, as Hollywood is making a major motion picture — "Austinpussy" — about Austin's exploits, and the Queen is about to knight him for his selfless service to the empire. Surely now dad will give Austin the recognition he craves! But no. Bad dad blows off the royal ceremony, triggering painful memories of Austin's lonely graduation from the British Intelligence Academy. Dad wasn't there then, either, and Austin has never forgotten the derisive laughter of his schoolmates, who included the very young Basil Exposition and arch-nemeses-to-be Dr. Evil and Number Two. About to drown his sorrows in the company of a pair of kawaii twins named Fook Yu and Fook Mi (Carrie Ann Inaba, Diane Mizota), Austin learns that his father has been kidnapped by super-villain Goldmember (Myers) — so named because he lost his privates in a smelting accident and replaced them with a gilded replica — and spirited back to the year 1975. Austin must rescue dad and return to the present to stop Dr. Evil (Myers) from destroying the world. Austin's '70s sidekick, disco diva Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles, of pop trio Destiny's Child) — whose radiant afro, hoop earrings and low-riding hip huggers look as chic in 2002 as they did at the height of the roller boogie era — comes along for the ride. Once again, the movie's sense of humor is poised between juvenile toilet gags and snarky snickers at the expense of '60s and '70s fashions, popular culture and attitudes; for every laugh, there's an equal and opposite groan of disgust. But casting Caine as Austin's father is a stroke of pure genius: Caine's bespectacled spy Harry Palmer (of 1965's THE IPCRESS FILE, 1966's FUNERAL IN BERLIN and 1967's BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN) is, even more than Sean Connery's James Bond, the model for Austin's uber-geek studliness. First-timer Knowles turns in a surprisingly confident performance — she's no Pam Grier, but she can act rings around one-time Blaxploitation icon Tamara Dobson, the stunning but wooden star of CLEOPATRA JONES (1973) — and gets to sing an inspired K.C. and the Sunshine Band medley. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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