Austin Powers in Goldmember

The worst has happened, Austin Powers has gone Hollywood. There's nothing wrong with a celebrity guest spot or two, TV's The Simpsons has proven it can work even when said celebrity plays himself. But with Austin Powers in Goldmember, Myers has thrown out what made his alter egos great and traded them in for a shiny new set of Britney Spears hooters.

This third shagarific installment, Goldmember, stars Mike Myers as a wide ranging array of alternately quirky and disgusting characters in what is part James Bond parody, spy spoof, and balls-to-the-wall lampoon of swinging 60's culture in general. The first two such films chronicle the adventures of Austin Powers (Mike Myers), 60's super-spy unfrozen in our modern world to fight his time traveling arch-nemesis Dr. Evil (Myers). Aided by a hilarious array of inept henchmen and 1/8 sized clones, Evil's plans for world domination are foiled by the charm and libido of master manipulator Austin Powers. This third film is basically more of the same, with Austin once again pitted against Evil, who this time is joined by the fiendishly sickening villain Goldmember (Myers); a 70's Dutch disco sensation whose obsessive love of gold has prompted him to have his privates gilded in 24 karat glory.

However, while the second swinging Powers flick managed to surpass the original in wit, charm, and gut busting belly laughs, Goldmember has little fresh to offer either to the Powers franchise or to the funny bones of audiences in general. Unlike the second film, which managed to come up with new (and perhaps even better) gags to further the Powers mythos, Goldmember chooses instead to simply rehash the same jokes which were already done better in the second film. Sometimes all you need in a sequel to have a little fun, a chance just to see something familiar and relax, without worrying about what's new and what's not. But this isn't just some action romp. Comedy, and Powers in particular, must be sharp, biting, almost hard-hittingly fresh. In Goldmember, Powers and the gang have missed their sell-date and along with it their edge.

Rather than investing in more gas for their gags, Myers’ crew has instead gone out and roped in a host of celebrity cameos, perhaps in the hope that the big bang of Tom Cruise, The Osbournes, or Britney Spears will provide filler for the gaping holes left by absent laughs. In truth, Goldmember seems fairly obsessed with Hollywood, even passing up opportunities for big fun in Japan, in a mad rush to return to the familiar scenes of movie-making California.

Goldmember isn't painful, or inherently rotten; merely a waste of good talent and time; which could have been better used on a movie more worthy of the laughter implied by the Austin Powers name. Even sure-fire standbys like the unforgettably funny Dr. Evil have been woefully shaved to close to the scrotum in this totally neutered version of the Austin Powers quest. In fact, I'd almost swear that Dr. Evil has somehow ceased his dark Belgian ways and become a kind hearted Canadian. Myers doesn't even seem to get his accent right. With Evil playing nice, Austin Powers just ain't that fun.

Sure, Michael Caine throws in some good punches as Austin's father, and Beyonce Knowles is only half as annoying as you might expect.... all true. But madman Mike Myers has apparently let success go to his head... or maybe he's afraid of offending any of his new Hollywood friends... or perhaps the Powers franchise has simply run out of gas. Whatever the reason, let's just hope he leaves Wayne's World at a standing count of two.