Picture this: Mike Myers as swinging agent Austin Powers meeting twin Japanese babes named Fook Mi and Fook Yu. Or Britney Spears hitting on Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Or Fat Bastard (who Myers plays as Sean Connery's diet nightmare) squeezing out a fresh turd and reacting with great Scot horror as he examines it: "But I didn't eat any corn."
Such small,gross, infantile moments — too few, if you ask me — make up the best of Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third and splashiest chapter yet in the series co-written by Myers and directed by Jay Roach. By splashy, I mean huge, elaborate, over-produced. Not good words. Since the first sequel, in 1999, grossed $205 million, compared to the $73 million peanuts of the modest 1997 original, AP has become a commodity. The new film is swollen with show-off effects, most egregiously the star cameos that reviewers have been warned not to reveal. Being a little Dr. Evil myself, I will say that Ozzy Osbourne comes on to bitch that the film is "recycling the same fucking jokes." Good point, Oz.
Even the new Myers character Goldmember, a Dutch man who likes eating the skin that flakes off his body, feels uninspired. All praise to Michael Caine, who plays Austin's studly spy daddy, Nigel, and to Beyoncé Knowles, who turns on Pam Grier sass as agent Foxxy Cleopatra. But hit-and-miss skits trying to pass as a coherent time-traveling plot reduce them to bystanders. The gifted Myers lets his once and (I hope) future shag king get lost in an elephantine Hollywood franchise. The first time was the charm, baby.