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The Love Guru Comically Incompetent

The Love Guru
Directed by Marco Schnabel
Written by Mike Myers and Graham Gordy
Paramount, 2008

From the moment I saw the first trailer, The Love Guru looked doomed. And later, I’d see Mike Myers making a voiceover machine joke, getting hit in the nads like he does in every movie (including Shrek), doing the same schtick from his Austin Powers films, and just in a word, unfunny. Oh sure, Myers is a funny guy and even in an unfunny one like this, he’s going to find the laugh at times, but it’s just not enough.

In The Love Guru, Myers plays the Guru Pitka, who hopes to be the second coming of Deepak Chopra (who makes a cameo) with his pseudo-Eastern pop wisdom. His word of greeting is “Mariska Hargitay” (who makes a cameo, probably just so the people who don’t watch Law and Order SVU know to whom he’s referring) and he seems to have a best-selling book for everything. Pitka became a Guru under his mentor Tugginmypudha (yes, these Indian double entendres just keep coming), played by cross-eyed Ben Kingsley, who told him that until he loves himself, he has to wear a chastity belt.

Of course, if there’s anyone who could help wrestle off a chastity belt without even using her hands it’s Jessica Alba, who plays Toronto Maple Leafs owner Jane Bullard. Bullard is hated in Toronto for a perceived curse on the franchise that she’s apparently responsible for, and her star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) has started sucking due to his breakup with wife Prudence (Meagan Good), who has started banging Los Angeles Kings’ goalie Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake), whose French name says it all. Bullard hires Pitka to help Roanoke get back to kicking ass on the ice just in time for the Stanley Cup. She also has a crush on the Guru, who has to figure out things on his own to win her heart.

So we get a lot of Myers’ trademark double entendres and dirty acronyms, him laughing at almost every “cute” thing he says, more jokes on the diminutive Verne Troyer, who plays the Leafs’ coach, tons of self-references (Austin Powers, Wayne’s World, Kanye West), and a lot of moments that are just going to be met with silence in the theatre. I thought Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan as “Hockey Night in Canada” announcers were pretty funny and the sight of Kanye West screaming, “I love hockey!” was certainly amusing. But for the most part, it just dies. Timberlake’s character is ridiculous (not in the funny way) and just comes off lame in the way that wasn’t intended. And we continue the “looking for greatness from Jessica Alba” watch. Again, like in the awful Good Luck Chuck, she looks game to play for laughs, but she always comes off second, third, fourth, fifty-seventh banana to everyone else.

Myers hasn’t been in a live-action film since 2003’s Cat in the Hat (thankfully, this movie is about ten times better), and there are several reasons for this. The main one is that he is a perceived pain in the ass, perfectionism, so on. But I find it hard to believe that the perfectionist thought this was a slam-dunk. Perhaps he thought it was just time to get back in the game. If this is the quality to expect from a long hiatus, perfectionism is overrated.


Comment from Mike
Time: June 21, 2008, 3:55 pm

I saw this preview on a South Park episode when they first announced the movie to the public. It was a two minute commercial, and it was horrible! All of these SNL guys can almost never reinvent themselves. Bill Murray should teach a class.

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