Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Love Guru Review


Overall Grade: D+


Mike Myers makes me laugh. I laugh at his critically acclaimed stuff, and I laugh at his critically scuttled stuff; I even laughed at The Cat in the Hat (and bought the DVD!). The Love Guru however, does not make me laugh. If I were to end the review here, it would give you an accurate recommendation for The Love Guru.

Instead of a review, what follows will be more of a rant, so prepare yourself. The Love Guru is a disaster of a film. It’s not only not funny or “anti-funny” as A.O. Scott in the New York Times called it, but it’s an offensively vulgar PG-13 film as well. Much like The Happening has done for Shyamalan, The Love Guru makes one look back upon the previous works and wonder how things went right. This movie shows no signs of being written by someone who has several comedy films under his belt.

There are several areas to begin with this film, but the one that stands out the most to me is the complete lack of context, depth, and consistency within the lead character, the Guru Pitka (played by Mike Myers). What we get on the screen is a weird mash up of Myers’ Cat in the Hat trickster personality (including the same out of breath style laugh and hand movements that the Cat featured), mixed with the “everything’s sexual” personality of Austin Powers. Its creates a weird mash of personality and ultimately the movie never provides an adequate back story or context as to why the Guru Pitka is this weird mix, and this causes a serious problem for the movie. It was ok when the Cat in the Hat fouled up and messed with the kids’ plans because part of his role in the story was to teach the children that rules are important. It was ok when Austin Powers saw the world through sex-colored glasses, because his character was a send-up of the swinging 60’s. It’s not ok to see Guru Pitka do any of these things (and several of the things he does are direct Cat and Powers rip offs), because his character is supposedly a Guru full of guidance and wisdom. Instead he’s an inconsiderate jerk horndog who spouts off nothing of use. This isn’t a character, this isn’t a send-up, this is just someone looking to make stupid jokes disregarding all story and context.

For instance, as seen in the trailers, Verne Troyer (mini-me of Austin Powers fame) here plays a role as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. When the Guru Pitka first meets the coach we get him blurting out “Midget” (a rip-off the mole scene in Austin Powers 3 which was itself a rip-off of the glass eye scene in Wayne’s World 2), “Your small!” and then later making several more midget jokes every time he’s around the coach. When Austin Powers fought mini-me and made jokes it was because they were enemies, mini-me being the clone of Dr.Evil and attempting to kill Powers; that’s context and motivation. There is absolutely no motivation for the midget jokes in The Love Guru. In fact, if writers gave it thought, Pitka should be going the opposite way with the hockey coach instead of the cheap insults. What if Pitka was so loving and such a good guru that he was able to bring out abilities in midgets that no one knew they were capable of. How funny would it be to see midgets doing super things, rather than seeing them put down in this film? The joke would then work and a message would even be brought through.

Unfortunately the film isn’t concerned with things like context and motivation, and all we get is an hour and a half of Mike Myers acting stupid in front of the camera spouting off vulgar puns and entendre’s one after the other. Myers surrounds himself with even weaker characters (if that is possible); including an out of his league Justin Timberlake (who can be funny, just not here). There is nothing to recommend here, even for die-hard fans of Mike Myers. The film is not funny, its’ story is weak, characters flat, and its relentlessly crude (Elephants having sex is even a bit much for Myers). Do yourself a favor and stay away from this Guru.

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