Sit through “The Love Guru,” and you might seriously consider the possibility that Mike Myers has been abducted (temporarily, we hope) by visitors from another planet.
Can this work really come from the same inventive, outrageously clever mind that gave us the delightfully surprising “Wayne’s World” and the “Austin Powers” trilogy?
“The Love Guru” is really mislabeled. It should instead be called “The Mike Myers Show,” for what this juvenile gestation turns out to be is a series of gags better suited for “Saturday Night Live.” It’s the kind of impersonation that might leave us howling if Myers showed up once a week to dash off a five-minute skit featuring his title character. But in a movie, which seems too long even at 87 minutes, it’s an experience that leaves us more dismayed than entertained.
It’s Myers continuously center stage as Guru Pitka, a spiritual guide, damned, it seems, to play second fiddle to self-help meditation guru Deepak Chopra, who has a cameo late in the film. It’s Myers obsessed by and fixated on that region of the male anatomy that falls between the lower abdomen and the upper thighs.
Indeed, if there is a malady called “Testicilitis,” Myers is afflicted with it big time. Funny once or twice or a few more times, but with incessant rapidity, our 45-year-old Canadian creator cannot resist playing PG-13 games with all sorts of references to this masculine dimension.
When the film is not fixated on penis size, it switches to gags centered on urination and defecation, subjects sure to rouse the base instincts of a 13-year-old male. It’s harmless, but so beneath the level of lunatic genius we have come to associate with a product bearing the name of Mike Myers.
The action commences when the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba) needs instant aid after her star player Darren Roanoke has been cuckolded by his wife. Played by Romany Malco, Roanoke has been unsaddled by a rink rival named Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (get it?), played by Justin Timberlake. The Maple Leafs’ coach is played by Verne Troyer, who was Mini-Me in the “Powers” movies. Here, he is the source and object of more jokes about size.
In flashbacks, we meet Pitka’s teacher, played by a cross-eyed Ben Kingsley. As if to show us he is one of the guys, despite his knightly title, Sir Ben is the source of more juvenile ribaldry. His character is named Tuggamypudha. Go ahead: try pronouncing it.
Helmed by first-time director Marco Schnabel, “The Love Guru” is further hindered by its aimlessness, lack of pacing and self-congratulatory humor that wears out its welcome. Obviously borrowing from “Best in Show,” Myers creates two commentators played by Stephen Colbert and John Oliver. Both have some funny moments, but even their shtick gets on our nerves.
Divide this movie into parts, and as I mentioned, you’d have some hilarious weekly skits for a variety show. But a string of skits is not a movie; it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. Be assured, this engine leaves the tracks long before we trudge out tired and disappointed.
‘The Love Guru’
DIRECTED BY Marco Schnabel
SCREENPLAY BY Mike Myers and Graham Gordy
STARRING Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer, Ben Kingsley, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes