*½/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B
starring Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael York, Michael Caine
screenplay by Mike Myers & Michael McCullers
directed by Jay Roach
by Walter Chaw In the grand tradition of Final Chapter - Walking Tall, the third film in the Austin Powers franchise, Austin Powers in Goldmember, begins and ends with our hero watching himself being portrayed by someone else in a movie of his life--a level of post-modern reflexivity that is taken to such grotesque heights by the film that what emerges is actually fascinating in a detached, unpleasant, deeply unfunny sort of way. Mike Myers's obsession with body distortion and cannibalistic consumption and auto-consumption likewise reaches a macabre pinnacle in the picture's best running gag--the preoccupation with Fred Savage's mole with a mole--and with a new circus geek for the Myers pantheon (joining blue-eyed bald albino Dr. Evil and Shrekian Scot Fat Bastard), the Dutch villain Goldmember, who makes it a habit to eat giant flakes of his own skin. We meet Goldmember (so named for his prosthetic bullion bar and ingots) in another bit of multi-layered absurdity during a time-travel journey to New York circa 1975 and the fictional Studio 69, with Myers referencing his own most critically praised performance as Studio 54's perverse Steve Rubell. A study of Myers's Dick Tracy-like mania with latex appliances would no doubt fill volumes.