Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Verne Troyer, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley
Mike Myers, Graham Gordy
It has been widely reported that Hindus in India are offended by Mike Myers' latest film, "The Love Guru," a second-rate film about India's second rated guru, Guru Pitka (Mike Myers).
I can assure the Hindu population of the world that they have nothing to worry about. Rather than poking fun at Hinduism, Myers' "The Love Guru" is more like a loving tribute to real life Myers' friend Deepak Chopra. Chopra has, in fact, endorsed the film and has a largely irrelevant cameo in it.
It's American audiences that should be offended by "The Love Guru," a widely and creatively advertised film that looks far more entertaining than it turns out to be.
To say that I am disappointed by "The Love Guru" would be an understatement. "The Love Guru" has been one of my most anticipated films for the summer, as the material is ripe for comedy and the cast is clearly up to the task.
If you haven't seen a trailer for "The Love Guru," or at least a poster, then odds are you are no longer breathing. Fortunately for you, that means you won't waste your hard-earned gas money on this comic misadventure. If you really want to see a quality film about an adorable guru, I highly recommend staying inside this weekend and renting 2002's vastly underrated "The Guru" with Jimi Mistry, Marisa Tomei and Heather Graham.
Whereas "The Guru" has comedy, tenderness, silliness, affection and chemistry, "The Love Guru" merely has stale jokes, body fluids, poorly constructed skits and one-note character development.
I mean, seriously, Jessica Alba outshines Myers here. It's THAT weak.
Marco Schnabel, clearly not related to Julian, is disappointing in his feature film directing debut off the script by Myers and Graham Gordy. Schnabel clearly couldn't rein in Myers' comic impulses. An experienced director might have had the guts to say to Myers "Do you really want to do that?" Here, unfortunately, the entire film feels like one comic impulse after another with little effort made to connect the entire affair or, minimally, filter out the material that makes the film feel so completely disjointed or pointless.
While Myers isn't much more than a weak caricature here, the supporting cast does fare better and somehow keeps "The Love Guru" afloat.
Justin Timberlake gives it his all as a goalie who has a sing-off with a Celine Dion impersonator, while the aforementioned Jessica Alba shines as the hockey team's manager. Ben Kingsley, who proved he could act absurdly badly thanks to Uwe Boll, does a rather hilarious twist of his Gandhi portrayal in his turn here as Guru Tugginmypudha.
I'm not kidding.
Being a Myers film, there are the obligatory brief appearances by folks such as Steve Colbert, comic Jim Gaffigan, Deepak Chopra and others. Kanye West even shows up in a cameo.
It's likely that some folks will get swept up in the sheer stupidity of it all, and the film's tech credits are certainly stellar. The production design is as colorful and eye-popping as one would expect from the film's posters and trailers.
While Myers' script occasionally hits the mark, too often "The Love guru" elicits a forced feeling of warm and fuzzy rather than anything that truly satirizes or at least causes a chuckle or two.
After "Speed Racer," "The Love Guru" is easily one of summer 2008's most disappointing films.Thanks to a supporting cast that is clearly having a good time, "The Love Guru" may prove mildly pleasing to hardcore fans of Myers, Alba, Timberlake and/or the rest of the cast. The rest of us need to either stay inside this weekend and rent "The Guru" or head on out to catch Steve Carell's latest winning comedy, "Get Smart."
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic