Mike Meyers as Guru Pitka
Jessica Alba as Jane Bullard
Justin Timberlake as Jacques Grande
Romany Malco as Darren Roanoke
Verne Troyer as Coach Punch Cherkov
Meagan Good as Prudence Roanoke
Manu Narayan as Rajneesh
Stephen Colbert as Jay Kell
Jim Gaffigan as Trent Lueders
Ben Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypudha
Jessica Simpson as Herself
Kanye West as Himself
Deepak Chopra as Himself
Rob Blake as Himself
It’s a rare film that makes a reviewer consider giving up the movies altogether. My own Waterloo came forty-five minutes into “The Love Guru” when I briefly considered stabbing out my own eyes so that I wouldn’t have to watch it any more.
“The Love Guru” is essentially ninety minutes of incessant mugging by Meyers, who wrote and stars as the ‘Love Guru’ Pitka, and the crassest, lowest of lowbrow attempted humor. Meyers was once a gifted comedian who, despite a lot of inconsistency, had enough moments of sheer brilliance to get through the weakest of bits. I challenge anyone to watch his performance as his own father in “So I Married an Axe Murderer” with a straight face. Even “Austin Powers” has its moments (which were often, and repeatedly, run into the ground in the sequels), but over time Meyers’ sense of humor, like many of his other “Saturday Night Live” cohorts, has devolved into screechy, never-ending parade of d*ck and fart jokes, and not particularly funny ones.
That sort of thing can be done well, Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow have proven that by understanding that if the characters are interesting and worth caring about, even the most appalling situations can work. Meyers, on other hand, has decided to compliment his various poop jokes with an aphorism machine thinly disguised as a character who only exists for him to fulfill every self-congratulatory impulse he’s ever had (there are three, count them three, complete song covers by Meyers on sitar) and grin smugly at his every word, as if he had found the comedy equivalent of the universal theory of everything.
The story is about as thin as these sorts of things normally are. Being a tremendous hockey fan in real life, it is up to his celluloid counterpart to save the tormented Toronto Maple Leafs, and their despised owner (Jessica Alba), by fixing the failing marriage of the Leafs star player (Romany Malco). But that’s all just an excuse for Meyers to make jokes about coach Cherkov’s (Verne Troyer) height and force his faithful assistant Rajneesh (Manu Narayan) to follow behind his elephant and catch its droppings, stopping every so often to deliver a pearl of wisdom straight off a bumper sticker.
The only good thing that can be said about Meyers’ cavorting is that it makes every one else look better. Alba has been hired to be eye candy and nothing else, and most of the rest of the cast is either Meyers’ straight man or cohort. Jim Gaffigan and Stephen Colbert try their hand at the over-the-top odd couple sports announcers, but it’s been done so much better, and recently, that it doesn’t serve as much more than a needed respite from Meyers. The only person who actually succeeds at what he’s supposed to be doing is Timberlake, as a well endowed French-Canadian stereotype Jacques ‘Le Coque’ Grande (in just one of Meyers’ frequent pieces of quote-unquote ‘word play’). It’s not the most original or funniest of ideas, but Timberlake goes for it with enough gusto that… well, it doesn’t really work. Nothing in the film works. But it’s better than anything else around it. On the other end of the spectrum is Ben Kingsley, who seems to be honestly giving Meyers a run for his money as the worst thing in the film, as Pitka’s unbelievably stereotypical teacher, Guru Tugginmypudha. And if you think you’re detecting a pattern to Meyers’ ‘word play’ that’s because you are.
Sure there’s a decent theme in there about self-esteem and not letting other people decide your self-image for you, but who cares. If you took the world’s most perfect diamond and wrapped it in five metric tons of crap it wouldn’t matter how beautiful or valuable it was, you’d never want to go near the thing.
“The Love Guru” is just a half a step up from a loop of monkeys throwing feces at each other. This isn’t a case of just turning your brain off and regressing to a childhood sense of humor. You could have a full frontal lobotomy and “The Love Guru” would still never be funny. It’s just vile, vile, vile. I usually try to stay even handed about films and freely admit that all opinions are subjective, but if you like this movie you are categorically wrong and should be sterilized for the good of the human race.