The Love Guru
Release Date: June 20, 2008
Cast: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Verne Troyer, Ben Kingsley
By Sean Chavel
"The Love Guru" is another entry in the Stupid Movie Sweepstakes. How many times can a movie this stupid make you laugh against your better judgment? Sometimes during movies like these you try to hold in your laughter but you bust up anyway despite a refusal to allow yourself to. Mike Myers, as superficial archetype Guru Pitka, will get you to laugh against your will part of the time but most of the time you can view this movie unaffected and stone-faced.
Narrative structures in comedies are not always necessary to be tight or controlled, but “The Love Guru” is a jumble of unfitting storylines. Storylines that are paper-thin and not fully realized. This Guru, borne from Indian tutelage, is Los Angeles based but hired around the world to inspire. He’s a multi-published author who succeeds on his superficial play on words (Don’t say I am “Nowhere,” learn to say “Now-Here.”) His latest assignment is to reunite star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) with Prudence (Meagan Good), the woman who deserted him.
The babe of the movie is Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), the owner of the Toronto Maples Leafs whom is concerned that her star player is going to blow their chances to win the Stanley Cup Finals. Jane, who is hated by the fans of Toronto who perceive her as an incompetent force behind their beloved team, needs the Guru to whip Darren into shape. On asides, Jane has read all of the Guru’s books and confesses that she has a school-girl’s crush on him. As followed by the formula, Jane makes a move on the Guru who has to live by a vow of chastity. The Guru’s heart beats fast – he wants her bad too… but that damn chastity belt! Har! Har! Har!
The movie follows down the path of bad, clichéd formula of romantic comedies, but there is a couple of fantasy Bollywood musical numbers with Alba – looking flavorful in the sex object role – in tantalizing belly dancer attire that will get the male audience’s senses stirred. That’s lust for the eye but what about the comedy? The Guru, in practice, makes a lot of duh! pronouncements on truth and happiness. Myers knows this archetype character is full of mocking contradictions, and so Myers – in self-aware comedy star mode – laughs at his own jokes. His performance is most sincere in the romantic formula scenes with Alba.
Other characterizations are one-note. Midget Verne Troyer is the hockey coach who endures countless elf and dwarf jokes, Ben Kingsley is the wizened maharishi who taught Guru Pitka, and Justin Timberlake is hockey adversary Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (also romance opponent, he stole Darren’s woman) who squeezes out big laughs in his initial appearance but eventually becomes a weary addition because there’s nothing beyond his one-dimensional character to expand on.
Myers, the co-writer of the film along with Graham Gordy, said he was inspired to do this comedy after going into a spiritual fix following the death of his father as well as indulging in his love for Toronto Maples Leaf hockey. Myers would be better served doing one idea at a time one film at a time. A comedy of spiritual enlightenment and hockey don’t go together. There are shameless laughs sprinkled throughout nonetheless. Scatological humor is aplenty. But more than that, there are lots of ball-sac jokes. Funny ball-sac jokes. Amusing ball-sac jokes. Bad ball-sac jokes. Countless numbers of those kind of jokes and as many penis jokes, too. The movie’s low aim grows repetitious