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The "Love Guru" Falls Short Of Comic Nirvana

After the "Austin Powers" trilogy, it was believed that comedian Mike Myers had achieved new standards in his comical forte. He evolved from slapstick skits into real movies that had connective tissue and continuing characters. Unfortunately his latest movie "Love Guru" is a regressive step in the extreme in this context.

The "Love Guru" Falls Short Of Comic NirvanaGet original file (13KB)

If one happens to catch the commercials for “The love Guru”, it will be noticed that the ads don’t actually contain any jokes, probably because the story line of the movie seems suffocated with unwitting humor that completely lacks appeal. Another probable reason could be that the studio executives deemed the jokes too scatological or philosophical for audiences.

The plot of the movie could have made a clever Saturday Night Live sketch, but not as a movie. It’s basically a silly spoof, which is occasionally funny, growing tedious with excessive mugging and bad punning.

Celebrity guru Pitka (Myers) runs an ashram staffed by hot women, rides an elephant and loves to play pop songs on his sitar. Like the real self-help gurus he spoofs, Pitka has written an ungodly number of books, overuses acronyms in his seminars and has made millions trade marking his ideas. Like Austin Powers, he is obsessed with jokes involving the male nether regions, which make him giggle and shake his fists like a little boy. As Myers approaches 50, these antics get stranger and stranger to watch.

The story gets cracking when the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba) pays Guru Pitka $2 million to get her star player (Romany Malco) back together with his true love (Meagan Good), who is shacking up with a monumentally endowed rival athlete (Justin Timberlake). If Pitka succeeds, he'll finally get one up on his rival Deepak Chopra and appear on "Oprah"!

The story calls for more smirks than laughs because it cycles quickly and repeatedly through Myers fetishes. There are a handful of inspired bits, but several moments like a sitar cover song or out-of-nowhere Bollywood dance number (which are several) seem to amuse Myers more than they amuse the audiences.

A good actor is a terrible thing to waste is a known fact and “Love Guru” is one true example of this. The film completely marginalizes actors like Kingsley, Alba, Good and Malco. They seem more like an endless number of sidekicks than supporting players. Timberlake though, fairs not too badly because he has a fun caricature to play, a Quebecois goalie with a huge crush on Celine Dion and an even larger physical endowment.

The only actor who really scores is Stephen Colbert, who plays a drug-addled, sex-addicted hockey broadcaster. He is absolutely hysterical. The rest seem deliver lines or perform bits so that they may quickly duck the rotten tomatoes surely headed their way.

The film stumbles badly from one skit to another without much confidence in the material. Irrespective of this, one cannot help but admire Myers. "Love Guru" is insane and self-indulgent but also fully committed, and there's a surprising undercurrent of earnestness to its philosophy portions. Myers genuinely seems to want to impart real wisdom via this character, even if at one point he imparts that wisdom via men fighting with urine-soaked mops.