There is certainly something about a big, dumb Mike Myers-led comedy that leaves moviegoers emptying their wallets, isn’t there? No matter how infantile, ridiculous or in the case of his latest film The Love Guru, creepy the film seems, we are still curious to see how it will all turn out. It is as if his brand of comedy reduces us to a group of roadside pedestrians laying witness to a 37-car pileup on the interstate — no matter how bad it is, we just can’t seem to look away.
And with this most recent film, one that sees Myers bearded and re-dialected as an Indian Guru who specializes in the ways of love as taught to him by a cross-eyed Ben Kingsley, we are left with tears of laughter at times and a feeling of being violated at others. With The Love Guru, Myers and co-writer Graham Gordy push the ridiculous gags and the innuendo to the maximum legal limit under the PG-13 rating, delivering an experience that is strange, unapologetic and ultimately pretty funny.
The story revolves around the Guru Pitka (Myers), who is called upon by the very hot owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, played by Jessica Alba, to help reunite their star player (Romany Malco) with his estranged young wife (Meagan Good) in time for the Leafs to defeat the L.A. Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. The only problem is that the wife has moved on to the Kings’ star goalie, Quebecy Celine Dion fanatic and registered meat swordsman Jacques “Le Coq” Grande, played by Justin Timberlake. And in order get the star back with his lady, Pitka and his entourage of enlightened followers must go through all of the most awkward situations possible, everything from fighting chickens to dealing with the disbelieving Leafs coach, played by Verne Troyer.
Now if you are out there this week, and on into this weekend, reading reviews and accounts of whether or not The Love Guru is a good flick, you are bound to hear a wide range of opinions, everything from “fun and entertaining in a silly way” to “one of the dumbest movies of the year”. And while I won’t go out and say that it is purely entertaining and/or overwhelmingly fun, I will say that it is not the dumbest movie of the year. Friedberg and Seltzer already released Meet the Spartans and they have Disaster Movie due out before the year is up — that should be enough to lay claim to the title of “year’s dumbest movie.”
On top of that, The Love Guru is no more ridiculous and “dumb” than the first Austin Powers film. In fact, it is almost as funny. It all goes back to the star-power involved and the undeniable genius of Mike Myers. He always seems to get the tone just right, even when he is serving up copious amounts of jokes about the penis, and he always seems to deliver moments that are so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. As well, his productions always attract funny cameos, in this case we are looking right at Stephen Colbert, who plays a hockey commentator with a little bit of a drug problem. Colbert’s two or three scenes almost steal the film, as do the scenes that include Ben Kingsley — they are just plain funny, there is no way around it.
In the end, I can’t guarantee that anyone will really be able to get into The Love Guru, as you really have to have a taste for it. But for those who really liked Austin Powers, this is cut from the same cloth. It may have its problems, it may be ridiculous and it may be very uncomfortable to watch at times, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t laugh more than I thought I would. To put it simply, it comes down to expectations — if you think that it is going to suck, you will leave feeling that it wasn’t that bad. If you go into it thinking that it is going to be the film of the year, then you are in luck, as it should deliver whatever your sick and twisted mind is after. Either way, it is a movie that may surprise just about anyone with how smart it is, and how funny it can be.