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LOVE GURU, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Guru Pitka (Mike Meyers), an ordinary American abandoned as a child in an Indian ashram, was instructed in spiritual attainment with his boyhood friend, the now famous Deepak Chopra, by Guru Tugginmypuddha (Ben Kingsley). In a bid to become more popular than Chopra, Pitka responds to a request from Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, and leaves India for America. Jane's star player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco), is lovesick and unable to play because his wife Prudence (Meagan Good) is seeing the opposition's goalie, Jacques 'Le Coq' Grande (Justin Timberlake). Guru Pitka faces a major challenge.

Review by Louise Keller:
Puerile and disappointing, what might have been a comical, irreverent look at Eastern guru wisdom a la Mike Myers is a load of balderdash, anchored by an elephantine bag of toilet humour, oversized penises and midget jokes. It seems appropriate to mention the elephant, which is The Love Guru's transportation of choice, and is kept nearby with 'motor' running, ready for quick getaways. While Myers himself as Guru Pitka, the curly, twirly moustachioed Austin Powers wearing an orange frock and a nasal accent which sounds a bit like The Nanny Indian style, seems to be having a riot of a time, not so we, the audience, who quickly tire of the low-brow humour that replays on a perpetual loop of lameness.

First time director Marco Schnabel (who acted as second unit director on the second Austin Powers movie) gives Myers endless rope as they try to make something of the weak script Myers has concocted with former actor and second time screenwriter Graham Gordy. I did laugh at Justin Timberlake's Jacques 'Le Coq' Grande, the French Canadian Romeo of the ice-hockey team, so named for the outlandish bulge in his pants. There's a fun moment when Pitka (on his elephant) surreptitiously enters the Le Coq lavish premises that involves a singalong with his idol Celine Dion, and a tussle between Pitka and Le Coq's guard rooster. It's unashamedly played for laughs, and despite a few good ideas, like Pitka's meditation cushion which runs on electricity, most of the humour sinks like concrete. Austin Powers' Mini Me (Verne Troyer as Coach Punch Cherkov) is the butt of umpteen midget jokes and one of the all-time low points is the pub scene when Pitka does a (convincing) impression of diarrhoea in a mug.

Jessica Alba looks lovely and plays it straight to Pitka's advances (why does she keep taking these dumb roles?) and there are cameos by Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer and Deepa Chopra himself who seems to enjoy all the fuss. What on earth prompted Ben Kingsley to accept the role of Pitka's own cross-eyed Guru? It's all a bit of a mystery and a boring one at that. To quote one of the titles of Pitka's books 'If you're happy and you know it, think again.'

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

LOVE GURU, THE (M)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Ben Kingsley, Justin Timberlake, Meagan Good, Verne Toyer, Romany Malco

PRODUCER: Michael De Luca

DIRECTOR: Marco Schnabel

SCRIPT: Mike Myers, Graham Gordy

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Deming

EDITOR: Lee Haxall, Gregory Perler, Billy Weber

MUSIC: George S. Clinton

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Charles Wood

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 10, 2008







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