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A Karmic Komedy

  • Jun 20, 2008
Forget about Mike Myers for a minute. Let's begin with Ben Kingsley, the Oscar winning actor who actually appears in "The Love Guru"; he plays a cross-eyed spiritual advisor from India, and his name is not a double entendre so much as it's a blatant sexual reference smushed into a single word. The sight of this man is hilarious, and yet I didn't want to laugh because I know that Kingsley has made so many better choices than this film. What possessed him to act in a film this unashamedly juvenile? Did he find the idea of nonstop penis gags appealing? I might as well be asking myself the same questions, because in all honesty, "The Love Guru" often had me giggling like a six-year-old who heard his first dirty joke. But to call this movie a comedic masterpiece would be an insult to the very concept of comedy.

The plot focuses on Pitka (Myers), an American-born, Indian-raised guru who was taught by Kingsley's character to become an expert in matters of love. How, I'm not entirely sure; he was forced to put on a metal chastity belt at the age of twelve, and there it would stay until he learned how to love himself above all others. Be that as it may, he's now a world-renowned spiritual advisor, guiding hundreds of followers with his bits of wisdom. He even attracts celebrities like Mariska Hargitay, and that's really interesting because her name doubles as his blessing for peace, love, and tranquility. But for all his fame and fortune, Pitka feels empty inside because he's only the second most famous guru. The first, of course, is Deepak Chopra. There is, however, a way for Pitka to increase his popularity: he must heal a troubled relationship between a Hockey player and his wife, who left him for another Hockey player. If Pitka can help them, he will be secured a guest spot on Oprah's show.

This opportunity arises because of Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs; the team's star player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco), broke up with his wife, Prudence (Meagan Good), and as a result, his Hockey skills have been waning. This shouldn't be a problem for Pitka, who's always ready with a slew of sayings hidden within acronyms. Examples: GURU is short for Gee, You Are You, and BIBLE is short for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. He also has published a number of self-help books with such inspiring titles as "If You're Happy and You Know It, Think Again," and "Does it Hurt When You Do That? Don't Do That." He introduces himself to Darren by rolling in on a motorized pillow and telling him that his wife has forgiven him. Low and behold, Darren's practice shots improve dramatically; Pitka then understands that the key to Darren's success is about distraction, not merely about reconciling a feuding couple.

Thus begins a strict regiment of spiritual guidance. Darren's first big obstacle is his wife's new boyfriend, a French-Canadian Hockey player named Jacque Grande (Justin Timberlake). His talent is huge, much like his ... well, let's just say that there's a reason this man is so fond of roosters. Darren's second obstacle is his mother (Telma Hopkins), whose loveable face hides an incredibly overbearing personality. If Pitka can convince him to face her, he might be able to overcome years of emotional scarring. This, in turn, will bring him one step closer to patching things up with Prudence.

Intertwined with all of this is the relationship between Pitka and Jane, which steadily grows. Jane feels inadequate because of what she calls the Bullard Curse; the long and short of it is that everyone in the city blames her for the Maple Leafs' losing streak. As a result, men stay as far away from her as possible. I have a feeling the audience won't care about this subplot one bit--all anyone will notice are the film's back-to-back sexual innuendoes related to male genitalia. There are also a fair number of gags featuring the Maple Leafs' coach, an angry, foulmouthed dwarf played by Verne Troyer. You remember Verne Troyer as Mini Me from the "Austin Powers" sequels, don't you? The dwarf jokes in those films wore thin after a while. The same can be said in the case of "The Love Guru." Truth be told, every joke wears thin at a certain point.

But I can't deny the fact that I laughed every now and then. Consider cameo appearances by Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan as sports announcers--they add nothing meaningful to the story, yet their one-liners are so outlandish that I found myself smiling. I'm not exactly proud of myself for that. I know that there are much better comedies out there, ones that don't begin and end with musical numbers and feature two elephants having sex in a Hockey rink. Again, I turn my attention back to Ben Kingsley, who chose to play a cross-eyed Indian despite his accomplished career: Did that same guilty laughter haunt him as he read the script? Was he actually tempted by the idea of telling masturbation jokes to audiences of immature teenagers? Maybe so, because goodness knows I wasn't strong enough to completely resist it. There's absolutely no good reason to see "The Love Guru," even if you think you will find it funny.

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February 12, 2011
Hmm...I may give this a chance on cable.
February 12, 2011
Although I didn't recommend the film, many thought I was still being far too easy on it. Professional critics declared it one of the worst films of 2008, and it was even nominated for a Razzie (I forgot if it won). Oh well. I have no control over what I do and do not find funny.
February 13, 2011
I understand. Comedies are all about someone's taste in humor. I remember someone told me to measure the virtues of a comedy film as to how many times it made me laugh. I also think most of it depends on the actor....
More The Love Guru reviews
review by . May 11, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The most impressive thing about The Love Guru is how much talent it managed to steal from The Daily Show. Samantha Bee, John Oliver, and Stephen Colbert all play small supporting roles in it. Good thing too, because Mike Myers was in dire need of help. He made a lot of exceptionally dumb mistakes in getting it onto the screen which a lot of other filmmakers really would have thought better of, up to and including his decision to play an Indian, Hindu guru. I realize that Hollywood progressivism …
Quick Tip by . February 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was just about the funniest dumb movie ive seen in a while. Mike meyers is funny as ever (as long as you can ignore the small parts where austin powers takes over) and justin timberlake is outright hilarious! I didnt even realize that it was him at first but once i did it made it all the better.
review by . September 02, 2008
Plot [Don't blink]: The world's second-rated spiritual advisor is hired to de-stress a professional ice hockey player.     This movie had me in stitches [after I got injured in the stampede for the exit] and will most certainly go down in history [as one of the worst movies ever made]     Jam packed with humor from start to finish [potty, crotch, midget, crude, one-liners] it is undoubtedly the work of a comedic genius [who has crossed the line to madness …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #2
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


Mike Myers, creator of Wayne's World and Austin Powers, adds another character to his arsenal of comic personae. With his thick beard, curly mustachios, and easy-to-remember aphorisms, Guru Pitka (Myers) has built a reputation as love advisor par excellence--but he's still just America's #2 guru, after Deepak Chopra. Finally an opportunity comes his way: If he can heal the rift between a star hockey player (Romany Marco,Weeds) and his wife (Meagan Good, Stomp the Yard), he can appear on Oprah. But when he meets the hockey team's comely owner (Jessica Alba), Pitka realizes he must solve his own love problems as well. Myers can't resist a good bodily functions joke--unfortunately, he can't resist a bad one either, so The Love Guruis crammed top to bottom with jokes about urine, feces, sex, genitalia--lots and lots about male genitalia--along with many, many gags about Canada, drugs, elephants, inspirational catchphrases, and little people (Vern "Mini-Me" Troyer takes the brunt of these). But theAustin Powersmovies were pretty much the same sort of lowbrow comedy grab-bag; though the ratio of good to bad might be weaker here, a good handful of bits offer solid laughs, including some mock-Bollywood musical numbers. Also featuring pop star Justin Timberlake (as a preposterously well-endowed French-Canadian), Ben Kingsley (as Pitka's cross-eyed mentor), Stephen Colbert (as a drug-addled sports announcer), as ...
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Genre: Comedy
Release Date: June 20, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Mike Myers, Graham Gordy
Runtime: 1hr 27min
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"A Karmic Komedy"
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