Another year, another Austin Powers movie. And that means 30 very funny minutes surrounded by 60 minutes of far less funny jokes about body parts and body functions, primarily those relating to the bathroom.
Mike Myers returns as Austin Powers, his nemesis, Dr. Evil, and the odious Scottish Fat Bastard. He also plays the new title villain, a Dutchman named Goldmember because of an accident that left him with gilded private parts. Each of Myers’ new characters is less interesting than the one before. Powers takes such pleasure in being himself that he is fun to watch, but Dr. Evil is still his best character since Wayne Campbell and Linda Richman when he was on Saturday Night Live. But the more recent additions are not very memorable. Like Fat Bastard, Goldmember’s primary characteristic is disgusting personal habits. Then there are frequent jokes about prejudice against the Dutch. Huh?
The best part of the movie is the appearance by a number of guest stars. Try to see the movie soon, before all the surprises are given away. Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny’s Child gives sweetness and snap to her role as Foxy Cleopatra, a gentle tribute to the Pam Grier characters of 1970’s blaxploitation movies. There are some great riffs on situations and relationships from the earlier movies, but there are also some excruciating replays of some of their jokes (mostly apparently gross bodily functions) and even excruciating replays of some of the jokes from this movie.
Parents should know that, once again, the movie has a great deal of material that would get an R in a drama. Because some words miss being naughty by a vowel or two and the sexual acts are apparent rather than real, they pass muster with the MPAA. Parents should be very cautious about letting children and young teens see the movie without viewing it first themselves.
Families who see the movie should talk about the fact that most of the major characters feel unloved by their fathers. How does that affect them?
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the other two Austin Powers movies and some of the movies that inspired them, like “Our Man Flint” and “Foxy Brown.”