If Myers' material hasn't changed much -- a rehearsal day on the Wayne's World set in '91 found him assaulting innocent bystanders with an underwear cavort -- he has become increasingly insistent in his delivery of it. On the surface, Goldmember is about the struggle of mojo-mad secret agent Powers (Myers) against effete archvillain Dr. Evil (Myers) and repulsive Fat Bastard (Myers) as well the new, villainous and tiresome Dutch character Goldmember (Myers). The usual suspects also return: Mini Me (Verne Troyer), Scott Evil (Seth Green), Basil Exposition (Michael York), Number Two (Robert Wagner) and Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling). But regardless of the sketchy interactions comprising this sequel's plot, director Jay Roach (who helmed the first two Powers and the funnier Meet the Parents) reveals his prime directive: to keep the frame filled with Myers' grotesquely made-up mug, never mind the (oft-cited) bollocks.
Admittedly, Myers and coscreenwriter Michael McCullers (Undercover Brother) are clever enough to enhance the franchise formula this time around. Although journalists have been instructed to "zip it" regarding the movie's utterly unsurprising plethora of celebrity guests -- I'm gonna leak one: Clint Howard has a cameo! -- it's the new characters who bring fresh air to all this flatulence. As Number Three -- a.k.a. "The Mole" -- Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) gives great poker face. (He also allows Myers to spew about his loathing of imperfection in others; surprised there hasn't been a character called English Muffin.) In the Powers Girl role this time around is Beyoncé Knowles of Destiny's Child -- not called upon to be particularly funny (her lines must have gone to Undercover Brother's Sistah Girl) but still wonderfully engaging as Foxxy Cleopatra, Powers' 1975-based squeeze (don't ask).
Hardly surprisingly, the best giggles come from veteran thesp Sir Michael Caine, who appears with great authority in the role of Powers' father, Nigel. The script harps a little too thuddingly on the popular absentee-father schtick -- seems Austin's something of an abandoned child -- but otherwise Caine hasn't been this funny since Jaws: The Revenge. His jovially incomprehensible English English conversation with Austin is a scream, as is his elegant manner of dispatching one of Dr. Evil's disposable henchmen. Worth the price of admission.
All in all, you know exactly what you're going to get with this machine -- a spy spoof for the daytime TV crowd -- which is a curse but probably, for most, a cheap blessing. Giggle at the farting submarine. Chortle at the Japanese caricatures. Wheeze at the little guy doing nasty things. The movie will leave you smiling forgetfully on the way out, and Myers will have done his job.