The Love Guru (2008) dir. Marco Schnabel
Starring: Mike Myers, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Alba, Romany Malco
How bad is “The Love Guru”? It’s not the worst movie ever made, but it certainly is a dismal unfunny affair. It’s Mike Myers' first original character since the Austin Powers series. A lot has changed since those years (1997, 1999, 2002) and unfortunately "The Love Guru" feels like a very stale Austin Powers 4.
Myers plays is Pitka, an Indian motivational guru with a speciality in helping celebrities release themselves from depression. Pitka is hired by Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs to help Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) her star player, out of the team's slump. Darren's stress stems from his girlfriend who recently left him for the rival LA Kings goalie Jacques "Le Coq" Grande (Justin Timberlake) and his fear of playing when his mother watches the games. Pitka has his own issues as well. He desperately desires to be the #1 guru in the world, a title held by the real Deepak Chopra. As well Pitka finds himself falling in love with Jane, despite taking an oath of chastity.
Why audiences decided to now trounce so heavily on “The Love Guru” is a curiosity. The rhythm of the humour, and many of the gags are recycled from Austin Powers, which had the staying power for three films. The irony is that, despite all the negative criticism, the Myers’ childish and uncreative dick and balls jokes are as lazy as those in “Austin Powers in Goldmember”, which made $213million in the box office.
Mike Myers has simply double-dipped once too many times. We tolerated the laziness in “Goldmember” because Austin Powers was already a beloved character in pop culture. Guru Pitka is thoroughly uninteresting and at best a supporting character in one of his other films.
Again Myers fills the comedic void with cameos. One of the running gags is Pitka’s greeting 'Mariska Hargitay' (as opposed to the real Hindi greeting ‘Namaste’). Of course the real Mariska Hargitay from TV’s “Law and Order” shows up for a cameo but is given little to work with other than the walk-on sight gag .
Even Verne Troyer is cast again as the Maple Leafs coach. But again Myers recycles the same 'short jokes' we heard in his 2 Powers films, in addition to biting the half-sized room gag from "Being John Malkovich". Shameful.
I haven’t referred to the director Marco Schnabel at all because for all intents and purposes it’s a Mike Myers film. The fact that Jay Roach, Myers' director of all the Powers films was smart enough to stay away should have been the dead giveaway of this film's failure.
"The Love Guru" is available on DVD from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment