Anyone old enough to see this movie is way too old to enjoy it. And having co-writer and star Mike Myers wink at the audience after some lame pun or potty joke doesn’t up the hilarity factor. The fact that he is willing to acknowledge how cheesy this material is does not mitigate damages.
In his last live action movie Mike Myers played three characters and two of them, the grossly obese and just plain gross Fat Bastard and even the title character, ever-ready-to-party Austin Powers, were one-joke concepts. Myers and the film were best when the focus was on the villainous Dr. Evil. In his latest film, “The Love Guru,” Myers only plays one character but he is the least interesting figure in the movie, or at least the least interesting male. The wonderfully talented Meagan Good and the appealing Jessica Alba have nothing to do but gaze adoringly at whichever male the script asks them to, which they do reasonably well, and look very, very fetching, which they do extremely well. Meanwhile, Myers’ character, the Guru Pitka, has a beard that obscures much of his face and a storyline that underneath all of the gross-out humor is just dull.
Pitka is an American raised in an ashram who always came in second to his rival — Deepak Chopra. Their teacher was cross-eyed Guru Tugginmypudha, played by a slumming Sir Ben Kingsley, whose Indian ancestors are revoking their reincarnation options at this moment. That character name is one of many, many examples of the non-stop naughty-body-part-references. The level of humor would be more appropriate on a 4th grade bathroom wall than a Hollywood screenplay.
Pitka is a best-selling author and popular spiritual leader but still second to Chopra. His chance to move into first place comes when the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team (Jessica Alba) hires him to treat the star player (Romany Malco, please, please someone give this handsome and talented actor a part worthy of him) who is distraught because his wide (Meagan Good) has left him for another team’s goalie, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake). The nickname, in case it isn’t clear, is another achingly un-subtle body-part reference and refers to his most impressive physical attribute. With a running time of less than 90 minutes, the movie still finds time to repeat jokes about the size of that attribute but it never gets funny. Ever. This movie has the timing of chilled molasses.
The movie also includes elephant poop, a sort of ashram dodgeball played with pee-soaked mops, a chastity belt (and when he is aroused there’s a clang sound, get it?), references to a little person (“Austin Powers'” Verne Troyer) as a Kebler elf, a gnome, and a hobbit, crotch hits, random musical numbers, and meaningless cameos by embarrassed-looking semi-stars.
Even in a silly comedy the audience has to be able to connect to the characters and care about the story and that never happens here. Myers could have made fun of American susceptibility to spiritual leaders who appear on “Oprah” and write best-sellers filled with gimmicky aphorisms supposedly based on ancient wisdom. But it is evident that he has been genuinely touched by Chopra (they appear together on the Sundance Channel’s Iconoclasts series). This is lovely for him but a real buzzkill for the movie. It is also a mistake to make the task assigned to him the reconciliation of a couple who split up without having us invest in any way in either of the characters or their feelings for each other. Good’s character loses our sympathy immediately for leaving her husband for no particular reason for a man who is completely obnoxious (though Timberlake is very funny in the movie’s only bright spot). And the movie is creepily misogynistic, with Malco’s problems all coming down to his faithless wife and his harridan of a mother (played by Telma Hopkins of Tony Orlando and Dawn!). The movie seems like one long regression therapy session for Myers, who seems to have taken the guru’s messages about how everything he does is wonderful a little too much to heart.
Parents should know that this film has non-stop extremely vulgar and disgusting humor, many jokes about human and animal sex, body parts, and bodily functions and fluids, comic violence including fistfights and humorous but grisly wounds, strong language, drinking, drug references, some homophobic humor, and some ethnic, disability, and religious humor.
Family discussion: Did any of the guru’s advice make sense? How did he decide what was most important to him? What makes people so willing to follow pop celebrities like Pitka and Chopra?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy a French film about an anti-Semite who has to pretend to be a rabbi, The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob.