The Italian Job (2003)

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After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally. (IMDb)
The first two acts hit all the right beats for a fun heist plot, including a couple well-timed “wrench-in-the-plan” twists, keeping it engaging through some less-than-stellar humour and characterization (Theron’s Stella is tragically reduced to nothing more than a “got girl” by movie’s end in a vomit-inducing end credits scene). The great car-chase action of the third act, meanwhile, leads to a less than satisfying deus-ex-machina ending courtesy of some unnecessary side characters.
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

Rat Race (2001)

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A Las Vegas casino magnate, determined to find a new avenue for wagering, sets up a race for money. (IMDb)
Its over-the-top plot contrivance-driven brand of comedy isn’t particularly clever or subtle, of course, but so help me, some dud bits aside, I still laughed quite a bit (the Jewish Pear family in Hitler’s car, Enrico and Zack delivering the human heart, and Owen with the bus full of Lucys were standout storylines) and Sinclair and his buds’ ridiculous bets were a fun side-gag. The misguided attempt at a heartwarming ending sticks out like a sore thumb though (Smash Mouth+crowd surfing=eyeroll).
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

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Upon learning that his father has been kidnapped, Austin Powers must travel to 1975 and defeat the aptly named villain Goldmember – who is working with Dr. Evil. (IMDb)
There are moments that reflect the energetic creativity of the first two films (see the meta-opening credits, subtitle mix-up at the office, “boobs” naming gag) and the Mini-Me+Austin slapstick scene was pretty funny, but besides that it’s pretty much all distasteful potty humour (see especially Fat Bastard after sumo-wrestling), overly sexual and laced with homophobia and misogyny. In this mostly humourless context, the brief yet somehow still incoherent story is beyond aggravating.
5.5/10 (Poor)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

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A 1960s hipster secret agent is brought out of cryofreeze to oppose his greatest enemy in the 1990s, where his social attitudes are glaringly out of place. (IMDb)

It’s hard not to appreciate the top-to-bottom goofiness here. Groan-inducing puns (Alotta Fagina), eye-rolling punchlines (“I never forget a pussy… cat”), spy satire (“I too like to live dangerously”), repetition humour (“Sh!”), self-aware trope jokes (“I’m going to place him in an easily escapable situation…”), silly plot twists (see Dr. Evil’s father-son drama), clever sight gags (see the final cover-up scene): It’s no wonder there’s only five minutes of story, and it’s better for it!

6.5/10 (Alright)