The Love Guru (2008)
Cast: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Romany Malco, Justin Timberlake, Sir Ben Kingsley
Director: Marco Schnabel
The quirky Mike Myers is back with his latest comedy The Love Guru after being seemingly quiet following the highly successful Shrek the Third. In fact it's Myers’ first physical appearance in a film since 2003's Cat in the Hat, so there was obviously a longing sense of expectation surrounding this film which promised to boast Myers' usual savvy if not obnoxious comic appeal. With Jessica Alba and Justin Timberlake also on the cast, audiences certainly had much to look forward to even though seemingly unknown Marco Schnabel took his first stab at directing.
The film sees Myers play Guru Maurice Pitka who is called upon to personally see to the mental rehabilitation of Toronto Maple Leafs' Ice Hockey superstar Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) whose wife leaves him for hotshot Goalie and rival player Jacques "Le Coq" Grandé played by Justin Timberlake. Guru Pitka answers the desperate request by Maple Leafs patron Jane Bullard, played by the lovely Jessica Alba, who needs to get Roanoke at his best in order to win the coveted Stanley Cup.
Pitka also takes up the challenge in order to get on the Oprah show to kick off his career in self-help philosophy and to replace Deepak Chopra as the world's number one Guru. Sounds almost too Mike Myers to digest in the matter of one and a half hours but that's what you get after almost five years of waiting for another film.
The film's story was over-the-top to say the least and I'll be too kind if I say it was interesting or enthralling. The entire film seemed so over-cooked and repetitive that it was truly hard to see any humour in it at all. In fact some of the dialogue and scenes were primitive and disorderly even to the point that most of it seemed adlibbed by a bunch of self-professed high school jokers who had watched Austin Powers and the Guru a few too many times.
Myers was his predictable and usual self but his jokes seemed like they had been recycled from his previous movies and altered slightly for the sake of simple relevance. His usual puns and vulgar use of acronyms were a little infantile and frankly it's getting a little old. What is funny for a character like Austin Powers doesn't necessarily work for every other character you are likely to play in each film you pick. Having stated that the main attraction for the film was a serious flop there isn't much to say other than all else followed suit.
Alba wasn't necessarily bad but her character was inconsistent while having an incomprehensible attraction to the evidently unpolished Guru Pitka.
Having an inexplicably charming sex appeal to compensate for a sorrowful lack of it in the 'real world' has become a necessity in most of Myers' films and The Love Guru was certainly not void of that. A fault that can be seen with most of Will Ferrell's films as well.
Meanwhile, Malco was almost unbearable to watch while Timberlake's acting wouldn't have been fit for a B-rated film.
His attempts at comedy came off as embarrassing and crass. I hope for my sanity's sake and his self-image that any lingering dreams of continuing his acting career would have evaporated much like the memory of this film in a few months. Sir Ben Kingsley has been plagued with a host of strange choices in his career and I have to say that this film is the bottom of the bottle for him. Kingsley once awarded the Oscar for Best Actor in 1982 for his inspiring portrayal of Mohandas Gandhi returned to an Indian role playing Pitka's teacher Guru Tugginmypuddha. Need I say more?
The only truly funny character was the commentator Jay Kell played by comedian Stephen Colbert who was probably the only reason this isn't the worst movie of the decade. Director Marco Schnabel who's worked with Mike Myers on Goldmember and on the sets of Meet the Parents can maybe count himself a little unfortunate to be given such a first assignment.
The best part about The Love Guru was probably that it was only 88 minutes long. The film was certainly one to forget for all those involved and was a perfectly terrible waste of my sleepy time, while as late as this review is I figured I may at least save a coupled of readers from purchasing the DVD.
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