The Love Guru Falls Far Short of Enlightenment
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- Updated Sep 19, 2008
DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: June 20, 2008
Rating: PG-13 (crude and sexual content throughout, language, some comic violence and drug references)
Run Time: 88 min.
Directors: Marco Schnabel
Actors: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Verne Troyer, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Stephen Colbert, Ben Kingsley
I learned three valuable things from sitting through this summer’s most unfunny movie, The Love Guru.
- Mike Myers really should’ve gone ahead and made Austin Powers 4 instead. If you can believe it, the swinger spy’s antics were far more clever and classy in comparison.
- Jessica Alba could really use a new agent. After signing on for this, The Eye and Good Luck Chuck, you just have to wonder what’s she’s turning down.
- When lacking fresh comedic inspiration, poop, snot and male anatomy jokes are really, really funny, and I’ve just missed this somehow. Shame on me.
If you’ve seen the trailer, no doubt you’ve probably noticed that The Love Guru is not going to be on anyone’s short list of potential Oscar nominees. But if a cross-eyed, cheesy accent-sporting Ben Kingsley as Guru Tuggininmypudha wasn’t enough to tip you off, be warned: The Guru is far worse than you think. In fact, the only “comedy” that slightly edges it out in terms of truly lowbrow, adolescent boy humor was the recent barely-seen stoner flick, Strange Wilderness.
With a goofball character that merits a five-minute Saturday Night Live sketch (and that’s being extremely generous) Mike Myers plays Guru Pitka, an American who grew up in India and has quickly become the second most popular relationship guru to Deepak Chopra. Incidentally, the movie seems to be an ongoing commercial for Chopra as he’s name-checked more than Carrie’s signature Manolos in the Sex and the City movie.
Of course, Guru Pitka doesn’t like playing second fiddle to Chopra, so he’s thinking a high-profile appearance on Oprah should solidify his status as the Dr. Phil of relationships. But how exactly will he get Oprah’s attention?
Enter Jane Bullard (Alba), the pretty but “cursed” owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ever since she’s been the team’s owner after her parents passed away (and left the girl who doesn’t seem to have a huge interest in hockey in charge,) the Leafs’ fans have decided she’s cursed the team from ever winning the Stanley Cup. The logic is a bit faulty, considering they were good enough to make it all the way to the finals, but whatever. Since Jane is tired of being pelted with hot dogs night after night, she enlists the help of Guru Pitka—someone she says she admires greatly for reasons I’m not quite sure of.
Nonetheless, she’s convinced he’s the only one that can help. See, the Leafs’ star player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) has left his wife, Prudence (Meagan Good), and she’s taken up with Roanoke’s arch rival Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake). Jane is convinced that the new pairing is why Darren hasn’t exactly fared well on the rink, so she’s hoping Guru Pitka can help bring them back together. After all, Jane believes they really do love each other.
Meanwhile, Oprah gets wind of the situation, thanks to Pitka’s smarmy publicist and decides that if the Guru can save this marriage, he can have that coveted spot on her show. So with a win-win situation for everyone on the line, Guru Pitka goes to work with his self-help strategies that are about as useful as the musings inside a fortune cookie.
The supposed comedy happening in the meantime could’ve been written by a junior high boy, and no one would’ve been the wiser, considering the low level of inspiration. It’s telling when Myers is always the first one laughing at his own jokes, and everyone else follows along like lemmings. Occasionally when Myers deviates away from his gross-out brand of scatological humor, he makes Coach Punch Cherkov (Verne Troyer) his comedic whipping boy. Apparently running out of material since the pair worked together in Austin Powers, Myers decides to recycle every tired “short” joke at Troyer’s expense. And that, along with a slew of seriously wince-inducing jabs at India’s culture (horrible, even when meant in fun) doesn’t make for a very enlightening (or funny) time at the movies.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking and talk of recreational drug use
- Language/Profanity: A sizable number of profanities scattered throughout, including those of a religious nature.
- Sex/Nudity: While people aren’t shown having sex, there’s constant crude references to it. And whenever Mike Myers has a chance to squeeze in a joke about male private parts or a double entendre, he does so and often. There’s also a scene that goes on and on that shows two elephants having sex.
- Violence: A fight breaks out in a bar. Several characters are kicked in the groin. At one point, someone actually throws Coach Punch Cherkov.
- Religion: The Guru Pitka’s self-help religion indicates that in order to love others, you must love yourself. That’s about as deep as his theology goes.