Just the other day, I received a box with two DVDs in it: Iron Man and The Love Guru. I was excited to have received both, though that excitement is for two entirely different reasons. Iron Man is considered one of the best movies of the summer, and The Love Guru... well, quite the opposite. I knew my curiosity would draw me to the infamous Love Guru before too long, despite its reputation as a brain sucker. Thankfully - and this is where my excitement comes from - I didn't have to pay for or use up any of my Netflix subscription for this dreadful piece of crap.
The Love Guru stars Mike Myers as a spiritual self-help guru named Pitka who has returned to America to break into the lucrative business. The Guru Pitka is immediately hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs and their unlikely owner, Jessica Alba, to help their star player (Romany Malco) get his playing back on track after the devastating separation from his beautiful wife (Meagan Good), who has taken up sexual union with star hockey player Justin Timberlake. As is to be expected, the Guru Pitka, who vowed celibacy at an early age, falls in love with Alba.
There's not much to say about The Love Guru, other than that it fails in every conceivable way. The plot is scattered, silly and uninteresting; the first two adjectives may be intentional, but the third is certainly not. The movie bounces all over the place without any recognizable focus or point, and as such it comes off as an hour-and-a-half "Worst of SNL" montage. The acting and writing is downright terrible, and while some people have given props to Justin Timberlake for making an utter fool of himself, even he isn't fun to watch. Still, he's better than the rest. Verne Troyer doesn't have much to do, and Alba, who doesn't get nearly as much screen time as one would expect, is there for eye candy and nothing more. As for Mike Myers, this is a possible career-killer right here. With exception to the first two Shrek movies, this guy hasn't made a good live-action movie in nearly ten years.
The real problem with The Love Guru, which is a compilation of all the points mentioned above, is that it is so conceited and full of itself that if it could look in the mirror, it would be oblivious to the fact that it is a hideous, broken beast. This is one of those movies that should been aborted with the morning-after pill, as even in it's earliest stages there's nothing that could have been done to make The Love Guru funny, let alone inoffensive to over a billion people. The concept is terrible, and the execution is even worse. Myers parades around spitting out sexual innuendos and then laughing at his own apparent cleverness, completely unaware that everything he is doing is falling flat. I've seen worse movies before, but never one that so defiantly thanks it is the opposite.
Curiosity may be drawing you to The Love Guru as well, tempting you to see whether the Mike Myers movie is truly as bad as it looked. Don't give in! It's not worth it! It's bad, it's not funny and it's a complete waste of time.
Review #2 by Robert Bell (D)What might have been the most amusing thing about The Love Guru was what happened prior to the press screening. While the audience got seated and the studio rep made nice with the most recognizable film critics, there was live sitar music and belly-dancers that shook about up and down the aisles. The music was entirely too loud and people had to dodge around the dancers to get to vacant seats. While this scenario alone was highly amusing, the roar of applause that came after the music ceased and the girls put their boobies away was even more bizarre. It was reluctant at first, but clearly social expectations and guilt got to many audience members who then overcompensated, making the entire ordeal unintentionally amusing and somewhat ridiculous. It just seemed to be an example of a marketing meeting gone wrong.
The film itself is equally bizarre, but rarely sparks any sort of amusement (intentional or unintentional) or cohesion. The Love Guru is essentially a cinematic pastiche of all things familiar to the comedy world of Mike Myers and recent pop culture. The sheer inanity and peculiar nature of the on-screen happenings lead one to believe that something of amusement might come about, but it never really does. Instead, the film spouts out a series of jokes about poo, scrotums, doggystyle sex, French-Canadian profanity and copious allusions to fornication, both elephant and human. While this should amuse younger audience members and those who are a little less discerning, it will likely irritate and confuse those with a slightly more refined comic palette.
Pitka (Mike Myers), a North American raised in India by Guru Tugginmypudha (Ben Kingsley), decides to return to his native land to become the number one guru, surpassing Deepak Chopra. His main course of action involves getting on Oprah's talk show, until Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, seeks Guru Pitka out to help her with their struggling star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco).
Having recently separated from long-time girlfriend Prudence (Meagan Good), Darren suffers from hand trembles, which interfere with his puck handling. This is only exacerbated by the fact that Prudence is now dating a French-Canadian goalie named Jacques "Le Coq" Grande (Justin Timberlake), who reportedly earned his nickname by having an enormous hog.
As Pitka attempts to help Darren with his love issues, his agent Dick Pants (John Oliver) attempts to get him onto Oprah's talkshow, despite the fact that The Love Guru is far more interested in having sex with Jane Bullard.
Despite sequences of Justin Timberlake singing Celine Dion songs and trajectory gags involving the word tabernac, trademarked acronyms and the use of Mariska Hargitay's (the emmy-winning actress from Law & Order: SVU) name as a greeting and a prayer, nothing comes across as genuinely funny. The only mild amusement comes when Myers candidly points out the joke he was just making matter-of-factly. This is most effective in a scene where he and Romany Malco sit in a crowded bar and Myers makes pooping noises into a coffee mug. When he is done he then states to Malco "I was just making diarrhea noises into this mug." This is, sadly, as witty as the film gets as it often resorts to jokes that involve celebrity tabloid vagina and boogers.
The juvenile humor isn't the only problem with The Love Guru, as there are issues with direction and modernity. When songs like Brimful of Asha, Blur's Song #2 and More Than Words start crowding the soundtrack, it becomes clear that a major barrier within the film is how outdated it is. Back in 1997 when Austin Powers, Brimful of Asha and Song #2 were released, this film probably would have succeeded as a fresh and edgy comedy, however, it is 2008 in a post Judd Apatow and Tina Fey comedy world and The Love Guru just doesn't fit. It's a retread of the familiar and old.
Also problematic is Marco Schnabel's bland point-and-shoot directorial techniques that only gains urgency during hockey montages.
Those excited to see a variation on the Austin Powers franchise may want to check this one out, but everyone else will likely be disappointed, confused and wondering if they really did just see two elephants have sex in a hockey arena.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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