The Love Guru (PG-13) *

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Jessica Alba, left, Mike Myers, center, and Manu Narayan star in the comedy "The Love Guru."

By Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

When did it happen, this moment at which Mike Myers morphed from Minor Annoyance Who Used to Be Funny to Officially Unbearable Bore? Was it on the third journey to the Shrek well, or the fourth? The first Austin Powers sequel or the we’re-barely-even-trying-here Goldmember? Or — most likely — did he get lost somewhere in the smug, smarmy chaos of Cat in the Hat, a film as charming and delightful as a hairball in your morning coffee?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Myers went off the rails, but the unappetizing The LoveGuru proves he’s still coasting on his SNL/Wayne’s World/Austin Powers credentials. He spends almost every moment of screen time desperately mugging for the camera while making a series of scatological jokes that aren’t funny. Films can be creatively gross and hilarious — see Superbad or Borat — but The Love Guru‘s gags are merely embarrassing. And the Myers accent bit, Indian this time, stopped being amusing sometime after the birth of Fat Bastard.

The story centers on Guru Pitka (Myers), a self-help expert who has millions of adoring fans, many of whom are Hollywood stars just so that Myers can trot out a few cameos to pass the time. He greets his followers with a hearty ”Mariska Hargitay!” You don’t have to be psychic to know where that joke is going.

Still, despite his success, Pitka feels like a failure because he’s not as famous as Deepak Chopra. To best Chopra, he’s got to get on Oprah, and to do that he must accept a commission from the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba. No. I’m not joking). In an even more unlikely turn of events, the Leafs are heading for the Stanley Cup Finals. Yes. Those Leafs. Pigs fly; it’s chilly in hell. But the Leafs’ chances are in doubt because star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Marco), rocked by a breakup with his wife Prudence (Meagan Good), can’t score anymore. Guru Pitka must find the source of Roanoke’s trauma and reconcile the couple. The problem: Prudence has hooked up with rival goalie Jacques ”Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake), whose nickname echoes his impressive physical endowment.

Timberlake’s droopy mustache, recipe for Quebec pizza and frantic dance moves are the most amusing elements of the movie, but not even he can save it. Nor can Stephen Colbert as a hooked-on-hallucinogens hockey announcer, a concept that probably sounded better than it turns out. Nothing can counteract the tired humor (say, Myers getting smacked in the face with a urine-soaked mop, or Ben Kingsley as a cross-eyed mentor). The musical numbers — with one exception — are meant to evoke Bollywood, but merely plunking out 9 to 5 or Space Cowboy on a sitar isn’t enough to rouse an audience. (For a comic musical number that works, check out the spectacular finale of The 40-Year-Old Virgin or even any random episode of TV’s Family Guy.)

Hindu groups have protested the film, demanding an apology for its depiction of issues related to their culture and religion. But the truth is, everybody who pays to see this mess deserves a great big ”I’m sorry.” The Love Guru is insulting to anyone with a healthy sense of humor and the simple desire to laugh.

Cast: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Marco, Verne Troyer, Ben Kingsley.

Director: Marco Schnabel.

Screenwriters: Mike Myers, Graham Gordy.

Producers: Michael De Luca, Donald J. Lee, Mike Myers.

A New Line release. Running time: 88 minutes. Crude and sexual content throughout, language, some comic violence, drug references.


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