Josh Wolk
April 26, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Austin Powers in Goldmember

Starring Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Verne Troyer, Michael York

Written By Mike Myers, Michael McCullers

Directed By Jay Roach

For a while, it was just Austin Powers 3. A bitter dispute between shagadelic studio New Line and James Bond studio MGM (which claimed it had a license to kill the 007esque Austin Powers in Goldmember) left the Mike Myers vehicle without a moniker from January until April. Ultimately, New Line nabbed the title back, and director Roach says the fracas didn’t foil the fun: ”We [were] like a baby that’s a week old and people can’t quite figure what to call it, but we’re still going to be a good baby.” Actually, that’s one of the few personas Myers doesn’t trot out, though he does portray the titular randy spy, his nemesis Dr. Evil, the great Scot Fat Bastard, and new baddie Goldmember.

The story jets from the ’50s, with Myers playing teenage Austin and Evil, to modern-day Tokyo, then has Austin time-traveling back to the ’70s. Caine plays Powers’ secret-agent dad, Nigel, and Destiny’s Child’s Knowles go-gos in as Foxxy Cleopatra, a spy undercover as a roller-disco performer. ”Beyonce is like Cameron Diaz meets Pam Grier,” Roach says. ”She’s going to explode.”

Audiences can look forward to more dance numbers, catchphrases, and another Dr. Evil rap. Unless, of course, they’re among those who groused that the second Powers was just a rehash of the original’s best bits. ”Some people’s criticism of that is other people’s greatest hits,” Roach says. Through it all, Myers remains a bit of a mystery man himself—which has earned him some detractors. ”I hear people say horrible things about him and I always know those are people who’ve never spent time with him,” says Green, who plays Scott Evil. ”He’s brilliant, and he’s a performer, not a president. People are shy and awkward and uncomfortable. Not everybody has social graces.” The Lowdown The first sequel’s $205 million box office take nearly quadrupled that of the original film. We’re not sure the third will get that far, but we spy yet another groovy gross. (July 26)

Men In Black II

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Rip Torn

Written By Robert Gordon, Barry Fanaro

Directed By Barry Sonnenfeld

In today’s insta-sequel environment, how on alien-infested Earth could it have taken five years to bring Men in Black II to the screen? ”Men in Black put me over the top. I went from being a net player to a maximum-gross player in one film,” says Smith. ”So that makes it more difficult to make the deal financially.” Translation: The actor, who earned a reported $5 million on the first film, signed a mint back-end deal, which means he could pocket $40 million.

The raise is understandable. Smith’s Agent Jay is also more experienced, particularly compared with Jones’ Agent Kay, who was ”neuralized” of any memory of the duo’s exterminating duties. Jay’s first task, then, is to recruit Kay just as he himself was recruited in the first film. ”You remember Biz Markie, the human beat box?” asks Smith. ”We use the human beat box as an alien language. It’s just brilliant.”

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