Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: The Love Guru

The renowned spiritual guru, Guru Pitka, has found himself always being the second best to the famous Deepak Chopra and now he’s got the opportunity to turn things around and get himself his appearance on Oprah, thus elevating himself above the aforementioned Mr. Chopra. All the Guru Pitka has to do is help the hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, with their star player, Darren Roanoke. Roanoke’s girl, Prudence has left him and left him as a shaken player. Pitka’s task is right in front of him and along the way he’s hoping to catch the fancy of the team’s owner, the uber-sexy Jane Bullard.

The Love Guru is the latest film from writer and star Mike Myers, who’s obviously best known for being on Saturday Night Live, the Wayne’s World films and the Austin Powers movies and the Guru Pitka is his latest character.

I’ve got to give Mike Myers credit for creating something pretty original here as far as the character goes, I certainly don’t recall anything like this out there recently anyway.

The movie has it’s moments, some that are actually really funny, but for the most part, it falls pretty flat. Part of this is with the main character, Pitka, himself, who’s constantly winking at the audience, and thus kind of staying detached from the whole thing. The other part is just that the actions them self are just displayed in an order like they’re something to be hit as opposed to happening naturally. There’s also an over-reliance on bathroom humor, again some of which is quite funny, but a lot of it just falling flat.

Some of the segments that consistently fall flat for me are bits with the announcers for the Maple Leafs played by Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan. They’re trying too hard and there’s just too many of these segments in the film and none of them really work.

Funnier stuff is there courtesy of Verne Troyer, who has the best line in the film seen right over the end credits.

Jessica Alba is Jane Bullard, and she’s little more than eye candy in the film, which really I don’t have that much of a problem with her in that capacity.

Ben Kingsley and Justin Timberlake are also in the film and they both do a decent enough job with their parts, but it’s still nothing to bust a gut over.

But most of the fault is with the story construction itself and Myers’ portrayal as Pitka without any real sense of urgency to his character, he’s more there just doing a series of set pieces (some of which are good) but there’s really nothing there with a good through-line.

You might have a good time with this, but I’d more advice this as a rental or watching on cable down the road. Overall though, I thought this was pretty uneven with a few good laughs here and there, but nothing that really says run out and see it (but I must admit, they got me with the trailer to this, I thought that the trailer was great and it really made me want to see it), so catch it at your own risk…


Indians Appear Divided Over "Love Guru" As Myers Shows Interest In Bollywood

Movie executives at Paramount Pictures honored their promise to preview Mike Myers’ new film The Love Guru for concerned Hindu leaders in Los Angeles in an effort to ally fears of prejudice and stereotyping. But the screening has only served to bolster the religious opposition to the film, which Zed and his followers insist is disrespectful to Hindus and their beliefs.

Zed has now urged Hindus around the world to boycott the movie, claiming the picture “lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms frivolously”. After attending the screening on Thursday (19Jun08), Zed rages, “The Love Guru is even more denigrating than we earlier perceived from the information gathered from trailers, websites and other sources.

“Mike Myers’ guru instigates a bar fight, repeatedly narrates penis jokes, mocks yoga – one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, wears female jewelry, mocks the concept of third eye, makes disciples drink tea passed through his nose, orders alligator soup, induces elephant copulation in front of the crowd, introduces himself as ‘His Holiness’, lives in a lavish ashram staffed with scantily clad maids, and whose goal in life seems to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show.” And the Hindu leader has suggested other religious groups should give the film a miss.

He adds, “Today it is Hinduism, tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to denigrate another religion.” “Hinduism is often misunderstood and wrongly portrayed outside India. Movies like this bring more confusion and create stereotypes in the minds of audience.”

Meanwhile,  a website covering Bollywood and Indian cinema, said of the movie “The Love Guru, which is inspired by new age guru Deepak Chopra and pokes fun at the way the West is co-opting spirituality and not the religion or Hinduism, as some protesting Hindus believed after watching just the trailer.” also quoted Myers interest in working with Bollywood saying that he would “love to be in a Bollywood film.” “If a Bollywood director wants to hire a 45-year-old Scottish-English-Canadian actor, who does comedy, I’m their man.” said Myers talking to the South Asian press.

Best-selling author and spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra, who also makes a cameo appearance in the film, called Zed’s campaign “a cry for importance.” “It’s a sign that your faith has become a cover up for all your insecurities because you can’t even take a joke,” “As viewers will find out when the movie is released this summer, no one is more thoroughly skewered in it than I am — you could even say that I am made to seem preposterous.” Chopra further called the outcry from Zed “religious propaganda.” 

The Love Guru opened in the US Friday, June 20. No Indian release date was available.

India EU Film Initiative