Friday, June 20, 2008

The Love Guru: Mike Myers Loses His Mojo

Is Mike Myer's The Love Guru the worst movie of the year?

So far ... yep! Click here to read my review, as posted in Las Vegas City Life, or see the full review below.

TWO consecutive nights' worth of screenings of highly anticipated comedies -- Mike Myers vehicle The Love Guru and '60s TV remake Get Smart -- have led at least one critic to make a bold prediction: It's going to be a wildly competitive weekend at the box office. The big battle, of course, will be fought over which big-budget misfire will be deemed the dumbest and which will be rated as the least fun. Call it a dead tie.

The Love Guru, Myers' first film since 2003's misguided The Cat in the Hat (not counting his voice work in the Shrek movies) has been hyped as something of a comeback. Sadly, it amounts to little more than a string of one-note jokes not nearly as funny as the star/producer and his rookie director, Marco Schnabel, second-unit director on the Austin Powers films, apparently believe. But, hey, everyone's inner 10-year-old will be doing a whole lot of snickering, perhaps enough to turn the creaky contraption into a hit.

Myers and co-screenwriter Graham Gordy do a little with a lot, mixing an endless string of penis jokes and bodily-function gags straight out of fifth grade with a shaky narrative incorporating ice hockey; dance numbers a la Bollywood; amorous elephants; faux-spiritual gurus; references to the Beatles and EST, Brangelina and TomKat; short-people humor aimed at Verne Troyer (Mini-Me); sequences featuring the music of Steve Miller, Extreme and Celine Dion; an imaginary visit to Oprah; and cameos by Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer and Deepak Chopra. It's a magical mystery tour, from India to L.A. and back, sans the magic but offering multiple enigmas. For starters, who greenlighted this thing? And even more distressing, where does Myers get off hiring Sir Ben Kingsley for such a turkey of a role?

The story centers on the angst experienced by Guru Pitka (Myers) when he realizes that he still ranks as the second-best dispenser of faux-Eastern self-help wisdom, just behind Chopra. The No. 1 guru is revealed as Pitka's childhood rival during flashback sequences employing predictable tomfoolery -- a cross-eyed Eastern teacher (Kingsley), a fight involving mops soaked in the master's urine -- and one quite disturbing visual effect incorporating an image of a young Myers. Pitka has created an adoring audience of regular folks and Hollywood celebrities, thanks to wisdom imparted through If You're Happy and You Know It, Think Again and other bestselling tomes. The Toronto Maple Leafs owner (Jessica Alba) offers a chance for Pitka to climb to the top of the guru heap: He needs to simply reunite a Leafs star (Romany Malco) with his wife (Meagan Good), lately distracted by an affair with Los Angeles Kings goalie Jacques "Le Coq" Grande.

On the plus side of the skimpy entertainment ledger are funny, over-the-top performances by Justin Timberlake as Grande, and Stephen Colbert as a hockey color commentator specializing in remarkably inappropriate on-air references to his own bizarre proclivities.

Still, neither compensate for Myers' failings. This one-time comedy guru seems to have lost his mojo.

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