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Our review of The Love Guru, published September 16th, 2008, is also available.
The latest from Mike Myers (Shrek) earned a dubious reputation of being one of the worst comedies in recent history. Do no expect any contrarian sentiment from this review.
Facts of the Case
Myers is the Guru Pitka, a renowned self-help expert who caters to the Hollywood elite. His expertise is—as the title would suggest—love. The desperate owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba) summons Guru Pitka to Canada, offering him big bucks and a shot at Self Help Guru Nirvana—Oprah.
Turns out the Leafs' star player is suffering from a neurosis following a messy breakup and is unable to play to his potential, which is especially troublesome as the Stanely Cup is just on the horizon. Worse, the man who stole his girlfriend, Jacques "Le Coq" Grande (Justin Timberlake) is the goalie for the opposite team.
So Guru Pitka has quite a challenge: repair a broken relationship, earn Deepak Chopra credibility among the Eastern Religion crowd, and somehow survive a movie that will inhale your soul and crap it out in a blood-soaked bowel movement.
I've watched a lot of horrible movies and setting aside the horribleness of those movies, one of the huge things that always aggravates me is that behind-the-scenes documentary featuring the actors who should of course know they're talking about a tremendously crappy movie that they lacked the foresight to avoid, but, yet, in that fake, ironic showbiz way, they go on and on and on about how fantastic it was to work with so-and-so who also happened to lack the foresight to avoid the same tremendously crappy movie and how great the movie really was no matter how hard it is to keep a straight face but a brother's gotta eat!
One of the extra features has the cast members talking about how much fun it was on the set and how amusing the writing was and goshdarnit what an orgasmically uproarious experience The Love Guru was, although it's obvious to even turtles that there isn't an unfunnier movie to be found in the solar system.
Believe the hype folks—this sad, trying-too-hard affair is as pathetic as advertised. What happened to Mike Myers? Look, I wasn't enamored with his stuff since the first Austin Powers (the sequels dropped in quality precipitously), so it's no shocker that his latest outing failed to elicit belly laughs but I never thought was capable of anti-humor as severe as this.
The Love Guru is a mid-air blimp collision from frame one. It aggressively punishes the viewer as it rolls along, descending deeper and deeper into a laugh-less abyss populated by characters with the charm of sandpaper and midget jokes and elephants humping. Yes, midget jokes and humping elephants—that represents the apex of humor.
What's even sadder is the litany of missed opportunities. Is there something as ripe for satire as Hollywood's infatuation with flash-in-the-pan self-help gimmicks? The Love Guru is no Bowfinger and instead Myers opts to boot-lick, rehashing Deepak Chopra jokes until the pay-off is…a startling realization by the Guru Pitka that he shouldn't try to be Deepak Chopra, but be the best Guru Pitka. Seriously, who gives a @#$%?!? All the actors are also utterly wasted, with Alba serving as window dressing and as a love interest (?!), and Ben Kingsley humiliating himself as the cross-eyed mentor to the Guru Pitka. Justin Timberlake—a guy I actually think would excel as a comic actor—is reduced to dick jokes and funny faces.
Then there's the Guru Pitka, as aggressively an irritant as any comic creation has been since…Screech, I guess.
The video and audio presentations are strong. The 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is flush with color, loud and bright, but the detailing isn't as otherworldly sharp as I've come to expect from new HD releases. But it's still a bump up in quality from the standard edition and worth checking out if you desire to submit yourself to the pain and suffering The Love Guru promises; the hockey scenes are the standouts. The 5.1 TrueHD audio is clean, and will do wonders with the selection of Indian-pop music numbers that exist for no other reason than to pad the runtime.
Extras: HD featurettes on Mike Myers' inspiration to make the film, the elephant boinking scene, hockey training for the actors, deleted scenes, bloopers and outtakes.
Run far away from the Guru Pitka and warn all those that you encounter: nothing lies ahead but misery and midget jokes.
Guilty. The Sentence: Wrapped in a magic carpet and stuffed into an incinerator.
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