>> The Love Guru (6/10)

The Love GuruSo, I saw this year’s most publicly reviled film so far, Mike Myer’s new comedy The Love Guru, and I didn’t hate it.  This is not, as some would have you believe, the end of Mike Myers’ career in comedy.  There will always be a home in comedy for wacky characters and off-color childishness, and as long as that is the case, Myers will continue to make movies of varying quality.  Honestly, this one was more likeable than Austin Powers: Goldmember, which was a massive hit, so I’m not sure what all this fuss is about.

Myers is Guru Pitka, a giggling, simplistic self-help/relationship author obsessed with Deepak Chopra and genital humor.  He’s hired by the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the reliably awful Jessica Alba, to reconcile the relationship of their star player (Romany Malco), after that player’s girlfriend hooks up with opposing goalie Jacque LeCoq Grande (Justin Timberlake in a ridiculous, mugging performance).  There’s a vacuous romantic subplot involving Alba’s character and Pitka, probably one of the worst on-screen romantic pairings I’ve ever seen, in which Pitka struggles to truly love himself so that he can remove the chastity belt placed upon him by his mentor (Ben Kingsley in a ridiculous, mugging performance) and give Alba a good shagging.  Yeah, baby, yeah.

Basically, The Love Guru is to Myers as Little Nicky was to Myer’s SNL chum, Adam Sandler.  It’s an odd, almost unmarketable, premise for a comedy, with a weak joke hit/miss ratio, annoying characters, some product placement, and a terrible romance angle.  It’s a career misstep, not a career killer.  The Love Guru‘s very idea of poking fun at the subculture of motivational gurus and the people who follow them is interesting, just not an idea filled with mass appeal.  While Myers works very hard at making Pitka as likeable and as energetic as possible, the film is inert and lifeless.  The Love Guru lacks style, and, the bad thing is,  it’s noticeable.  No amount of penis jokes make up for the film’s flat directing, full of oddly timed pauses and huge missed opportunities to play with the visual language of Bollywood films.

I hope Myers can walk away from this one unscathed, because I don’t know if it is entirely his fault that the movie isn’t great.  I laughed more than a couple of times, I liked Guru Pitka, and the film’s juvenile humor is just within reach of being an embarrassing guilty pleasure.  It’s a passable “bad” comedy, not something astonishingly unfunny (and there are at least a half-dozen of those kinds of films released yearly), but its quaint, junior high-level sense of humor doesn’t succeed in creating any kind of lasting positive impression.

6 on a 1 to 10 scale

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