Thursday, November 11, 2010

Laughs come rarely in "The Love Guru"



The Love Guru (2008) 
87 min., rated PG-13. 
Grade: D 

In this lame, smug comeback vehicle, Mike Myers is Guru Pitka, a Hindu self-help instructor whose aid is sought by the desperate Toronto Maple Leafs team owner (Jessica Alba) to help a star hockey player get back on his feet after being dumped by his wife and living his life in shambles on and off the ice. This lazy comic stinker is a monumentally silly and inscrutably unfunny collection of mugging, fart jokes, kick-to-the-groin jokes, penis jokes, and midget jokes (courtesy of Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer). About 77 minutes past its prime, "The Love Guru" is like a skit with too much goofy shtick and not enough groovy-baby-yeah material. 

Star/co-writer/producer Myers is the movie's worst offender, as his irksome, one-note character of Pitka is Austin Powers or Wayne Campbell with a lispy, sing-song accent, that's not as funny as he had probably hoped. In an early flashback scene, Myers apes Martin Short from "Clifford" with his head creepily and digitally added onto a smaller body. Bollywood opening and closing musical numbers of "9 to 5" and "The Joker," respectively, are upbeat and fun, but everything else hits a brick wall with a splat. Same goes for the jokes where Pitka has a book for every problem and an acronym, a humping-elephant sight gag, and a surprise cameo of...Myers himself? And the laughs just keep on coming! But really, they never start. 

As for the supporting cast, Alba is more relaxed on screen here than usual, and Justin Timberlake with a '70s porn-star mustache gets a few laughs as a well-endowed hockey player, Jacques "Le Coq" Grande. But seeing Ben "Ghandi" Kingsley seriously slumming it as the cross-eyed Guru Tugginmypudha is as funny as it sounds, which isn't saying much at all. Debuting director Marco Schnabel's direction is even slapdash: there's no handle on comic momentum and some scenes/jokes go on long past the punchline. 

But if it's any consolation Mr. Myers, your movie is a notch better than Garth's (Dana Carvey) "The Master of Disguise," but that's like saying a knee to the groin is better than a fist to the jaw. 


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