Slapdash sequel loses original's cheeky appeal.


directed by Jay Roach

with Mike Myers, Michael Caine, Beyonc頋nowles, and Verne Troyer

opens July 26 at Majestic Bay, Meridian, Metro, Oak Tree, and others

What—no sex in an Austin Powers movie? Aside from one "Did you sleep well, baby?"-type remark from our hero (Mike Myers) to his time-transported '70s girlfriend (Beyonc頋nowles), there's scarcely a whiff of comic carnality in the flick, which is far more PG than it is 13. Even Austin's suave daddy (Michael Caine) can't get laid! Has the Empire really fallen so low?

Playing the eponymous new villain, Myers quadruples his screen time in Goldmember, and squeezes everyone else into the background. (Robert Wagner's Number Two mutters to himself in Yiddish, then disappears.) A dismal Euro caricature, Goldmember is a lisping, overly tan Dutchman in disco shorts and knee socks. Instead, why not battle Dieter from "Sprockets"? At least he was funny.

Austin travels back to 1975, but the whole sequence only takes about five minutes. Pimp hats and platform heels are apparently all the humor to be gleaned from that rich period; then it's back to the safe present.

Bolting from one gag to the next, Goldmember adapts a catchall, summer-spoof-movie tone lacking the original specific, salacious purity of the Carnaby Street swinger out of his time. The pity of it is that Myers' genuine affection for spy-movie conventions and MGM musicals gets lost in easy, crowd-pleasing goofs on Harry Potter, The Silence of the Lambs, and Mission: Impossible. (It doesn't help that the lampoonery is mainly inspired by late, lesser Bond flicks; forget all those A-list cameos—get Roger Moore out of retirement!)

Predictably, the movie's biggest laughs come from its biggest scene stealer: Mini-Me, who battles Austin with the ferocity of a terrier, then winds up licking his face.

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