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  Film Reviews: Daddy Needed To Buy Me More: Austin Powers Goldmember  

Thursday, August 1
Daddy Needed To Buy Me More: Austin Powers Goldmember
Goldmember. For those that may not know the story already, MGM originally sued to block the use of “Goldmember,” claiming that it was too close to the famous Bond Franchises’ “Goldfinger.” Mike Meyers and Co. got MGM to cave for an undisclosed sum of money and an agreement to put the new Bond trailer in front of all Goldmember showings. I’m not entirely sure who the bigger sellout was after viewing the film. I just know that Bond should have held out and forced Meyers to bring us something better than the Goldmember villain.

The original Austin Powers was the quintessential fish-out-of-water tale of a 60s icon being forced to live in our purified 90s world. Meyers deftly spoofed the super-spy genre, giving us pop-culture icons that would become the standard. The second Austin Powers gave us Fat Bastard, but we went back to the 60s and gave Heather Graham a chance to prove that she is something other than roller girl. Not a huge success, but Dr. Evil and Scott’s appearances on Jerry Springer seemed to make everything all right.

The third installment of Austin Powers was hotly debated for a number of years. Meyers and Roach claimed they wouldn’t do it unless the perfect script came along. Each agreed that Austin had been very successful, but neither wanted to do another installment that wouldn’t live up to the first two films. I believe that the majority of these statements were made before they realized that every company to man would sell their left nut to get some sort of product placement in the third installment. I feel that it is only fair to admit that I would be more than willing to write the next Pauly Shore vehicle given the right amount of cash (note to potential producers – I come cheap).

So what’s the best way to do the third installment of Austin Powers? Well, we’ve done the present and we’ve done the past. The future is reserved for the fourth installment (since space was already done), so Meyers and Roach split the difference and go for the 70s. This is largely done for the sake of the Foxy Cleopatra costuming (worn by Destiny’s Child diva Beyonce Knowles). Oh, and it’s the chance for “Club 69” to exist which means that we all get to meet Goldmember. Yup, the new bad guy that made me wish more screen time had been devoted to the subtle grossness of Fat Bastard.

I do not wish to imply that the film is without humor or the SBB trappings. I’ve already alluded to the OPP. I am not sure what company, including my own employer who saw fit to include the MINI, did NOT want to be a part of the Austin franchise. Pepsi, Taco Bell, Apple Computers, MINI, Cadillac, Heinekin and so many others lined up asking that their products make the film. I’m sure that the laser beams attached to the shark’s heads were even name-brand. The TSAA was none other than Kevin from the Wonder Years! Oh, and did I ever mention the Big Cameo Block Buster (BCBB)? These are the films that are SO BIG that everyone wants to be in them. Now, since none of us want to sit through a 17-hour version of Austin Powers with large parts for everyone, they’re reduced to simple cameos. If the film is big enough, then these cameos will eventually become trivia questions. In the case of the Goldmember BCBB most of the trivia questions will be something along the lines of “this actor did NOT make an appearance in the film.”

Goldmember also attempts to make a film about father and son relationships, with Michael Caine making an appearance as Austin’s father. I personally felt cheated, as this new twist didn’t leave enough time for my favorite father-son relationship of Scott and Dr. Evil. Not that I didn’t get a great dose of it, but I’ve always felt that their relationship was the greatest B-story in the history of film.

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: Matinee, closer to dollar-theater time.

Annoying Theater Goer: Well, there were some chatties in the balcony this time around, but I must defer this to the annoying blind date. I assume that this was a blind date for this poor fellow, as he was explaining on the way back to the garage the significance of the Osbourne family cameo in the film. This involved explaining the existence of “The Osbournes.” As the conversation progressed, it was apparent that his date was one of those “oh, I only own a television so that I can watch it three times a year for a total of 12 minutes because I have so many other things to do with my life.” These are the false intellectuals that eschew all pop culture because it is “trite and derivative.” When she simply dismissed “The Osbournes” as something that was “a complete waste,” it took every ounce of self control not to be pseudo-intellectual back and tell her, “well, I believe it to be one of the closest things we have to an ethnographic study of the dysfunctional household in a celebrity culture,” but just rolled my eyes. I am assuming no second date will come of this.

Main Reason To See This Film: Laser beams on sharks.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: Brittney Spears completely ruined what is otherwise the most fantastic part of all Austin Powers films – the opening dance sequence. Oh, and skin peeling.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.

Nudity: No, but husband would like to have seen much more of Foxy Cleopatra, if you know what I mean.

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