Directed by Jay Roach, starring Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine, Verne Troyer and Robert Wagner.

One of the interesting things about the Austin Powers series has been the fact that camps have sprung up over the merits of each film. There are those who love his debut in 'International Man of Mystery' and hate the 'Spy Who Shagged Me' and others who think the sequel is far better than the original. With the third instalment it's safe to say both sides will agree on one thing: it's not as good as what went before.

Watching, you get that wearying sense of the familiar in almost every scene. After a promising opening - with celebs aplenty in a Powers' pastiche - director Jay Roach, Myers & Co settle into a comfort zone where it's almost as if they feel they don't have to try too hard because they're clowning for the converted. Trouble is, zealots tend to want a lot from their movies and in this case, they'll get more letdowns than laughs.

The paper clip-wide plot sees Powers (Myers) up against Dr Evil (Myers) and new villain Goldmember (Myers again) with 70's momma Foxxy Cleopatra (Knowles) and his Dad Nigel (Caine) as backup. But while the movie's title shows a wicked sense of humour, the character who inspired it is the biggest waste of screen time this side of Jar Jar Binks. How anyone thought that Myers playing a painted-yellow man in hot pants with a Dutch accent was funny is bewildering and his reliance on physical comedy for the character shows just how much good one liners were in short supply.

Jokes are re-treaded, catchphrases fired off every ten seconds and the musical scenes, a good rap spoof aside, are completely throwaway. It's the type of movie which might make you smirk but will never have the tears rolling down your face. The brightest thing turns out not to be Goldmember's equipment but Beyoncé Knowles' performance. Sure, her character is just there as the eye candy and isn't allowed one decent gag, but Knowles isn't a plank onscreen either. She's completely comfortable and you hope that her next outing has a script with more for her than an Afro and a - admittedly very nice - pair of thigh high boots.

If this series has any more life left in it, Myers and Roach have to do a major rethink. Sending up Bond is all very well, but the difference with 007 is that no matter how many times you've seen his adventures, you'll watch them again and again. Once is enough in this case.

Harry Guerin