Okay, I have to start this off by saying: The Love Guru is actually a pretty funny movie. Yes, when I saw the trailer I groaned and thought “Wow, Mike Myers has made Austin Powers 4, without Austin Powers.” However, at the press screening I was laughing out loud, which I don’t do that often in movies (M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening aside). So my mini-review is: it’s good for a laugh. In fact, a Love Guru/Get Smart double-header weekend isn’t really a bad thing. Everyone keeps hyping up “It’s Carell vs. Myers!” in the press, and “Why did they schedule these for the same weekend?!” I say, isn’t there room for both? Get Smart will probably win the weekend, but don’t make that reason force you to skip The Love Guru.
Okay, I’m off my soapbox and returning to the task at hand, which is a junket report for said film. Honestly, if you’d told me a few months ago that I’d be sitting in a room interview Mike Myers, Justin Timberlake, and Verne Troyer, then I would have had you checked for drug usage. Then if you told me they’d all been in a film together, I would have slapped you. Well, all that stuff actually happened, except without the drugs and the slapping. However, you had the bonus of Jessica Alba in some sexy Bollywood dancing scenes as well.
Honestly, the most surprising thing Mike Myers told us was how he went on his own miniature spiritual journey after his father died. He read some self-help books (quite a few actually, and from the heavy hitters like Eckhart Tolle, Gary Zukav and… Kurt Vonnegut) and combined with the fact that he used to watch late-night Bollywood movies hosted by “Rakesh” in Toronto, and you get Guru Pitka, Myers’ character in the movie. Even more interesting was his process for developing characters, which involves him performing them in comedy clubs unannounced in order to perfect them. Which is why Austin Powers appeared in Los Angeles at The Viper Room, long before a movie ever came together.
So, Myers has been performing as Guru Pitka for the past three years, including to bewildered patrons of a nearby yoga studio, where they’d put up flyers advertising a new guru. Perhaps the unfortunate side effect of this is that Guru Pitka is unmistakably Mike Myers, and he’s also part Austin Powers. That’s going to cloud some people’s mind and make them think “Oh, I’ve seen that” before they even try this movie out, which we hope many people don’t do. Especially because of how serious and earnest Mike was when we talked to him. We expected jokes and impressions, but instead he talked in-depth about self-help, self-healing, how he creates his characters, and why he wanted to perform this character. Not that we’re trying to make you feel sorry for Mike Myers *sniffle*.
Justin Timberlake, on the other hand, yes… feel sorry for him. We asked him to think of something he’s bad at, since all of the other actors were saying how great he is at everything, and he couldn’t. So, feel bad for him because of that. Plus, he manages to pull off playing a French Canadian hockey player with a huge schlong, so he might literally be bad at nothing except thinking of the answer to that question. He said he’s definitely putting a lot of thought into being an actor, and he wants to be taken seriously. To that end, he puts careful consideration into the roles he chooses, and Mike Myers had a big role in making him choose this one.
An interesting fact that Justin told us was that he got a phone call when he was 14, saying a record label wanted to sign him, and he obviously went down that road. However, his family plan two weeks before that was to drive out to Los Angeles to try landing a role during television pilot season, when casting directors go nuts. What a different life he might have had if that had (or hadn’t) worked out. Instead, we now have the dancing, singing, acting prettyboy who isn’t bad at anything except… Connect Four. He finally broke down and confessed to us. I guess everyone has a kryptonite.
Verne Troyer told us how many people were surprised when they found out he could speak after seeing screenings of this, since he actually has a lot of speaking lines as opposed to the silent Mini-Me. Not to spoil anything, but make sure you stay at least for the beginning of the credits in this movie, because Verne has a great zinger in there. He talked a lot about his early stunt work in movies (he doubled as the baby in Baby’s Day Out), and about working on the set of the miniature office they created for his Coach character in this movie.
He’s also developed an enormous sense of trust with Mike, one that allows him to continually make fun of his size. Verne did say that if someone talked about him like Mike does in the movies, he wouldn’t be too happy about it. But, he does want people to view his roles as just acting, nothing more. He puts a lot of himself into his roles, and you can see him next in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus where he’ll be dressed up like a Devil, a scholar, and a bug. I can’t wait to see what Terry Gilliam does with him, and it revives my hope for a Time Bandits 2.
Granted, we didn’t learn anything earth shattering (except for me when I learned that Conrad won’t be back in this season of Weeds. Devastating.), but it was a lot of fun to talk to everyone right after we’d seen the movie, and as always it reminds us that movie making really is a job, and not just people goofing off on camera. Plus, Verne Troyer really is that small, it’s not an optical illusion.