Wednesday, 6 August 2008

REVIEW - The Love Guru



Directed by: Marco Schnabel.
Starring: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer, John Oliver & Justin Timberlake.
Screenplay by: Mike Myers & Graham Gordy.
Rated: 12A. Running time: 87mins Distributor: Paramount Pictures.

Oh Mike Myers. How the mighty have fallen... or could that be how the mighty kept doing the same schtick until audiences grew tired of it? After a six year absence of original material Mike Myers is back. Has he reinvigorated his canon to come back with something startlingly new and fresh, you know like when he made his come back with Austin Powers?

No. Not even slightly. The bad accents, the over long improvisation, the weak sex jokes and the assorted midget bashings are all still flailing around for dear life unaware of their tired status. This film has done abysmally bad in America and hopefully will serve as a proper wake up call that his time out seemed to forget to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted ‘The Love Guru’ to be good. I would actually like to watch a genuinely amusing Mike Myers film again (just like recapturing the joy of an early Adam Sandler film). You see in my early teenage years I was quite the Myers fan. He was both a great writer and performer and his opening ‘Wayne’s World’ movies had tonnes of great moments; ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’ was also a highly quotable delight and his real unsung gem.

Then after a few years away he returned with Austin Powers and never looked back. Two sequels and international fame as Shrek meant that his success was never greater but suddenly the films started getting worse. They started getting crasser and more stupid. This all resulted in ‘The Love Guru’ which is the first bonafide stinker in his repertoire. It tells the tale of the Guru Pitka, an inspirational guru with a penchant for childish rhymes, who travels to Toronto to help reunite a disgruntled hockey player with his wife. That’s the plot minus an over indulgence of fart gags, sex gags and unbelievable romances.

It seemed like not only had he started going for weaker jokes but putting a lot of desperate energy into hammering them home. The distracting elements of the Austin Powers movies have grown in stature film by film (wee jokes, poo jokes, innuendo laden names that really only make 12 year olds giggle).

The accents got worse and the improvisational moments now seem laboured. It’s like Myers is too famous for people to stop him and explain ‘you know… that’s just not funny.’ There are a number of scenes in this film where people giggle and laugh at his silliness and it’s one of the most forced awful things I’ve ever seen. In one scene Jessica Alba turns to him and says mid giggle ‘I haven’t laughed like that in years.’ She really hasn’t and that shows no sign of changing.

It would be nice to see Myers go for something resembling his earlier clever fun stuff (just look at Dr Evil’s speech in the first Austin Powers to see how good he can be). He could do something silly and smart rather than shrill and annoying. The only reason he seemed to want to do this film is so that he could hang out with his favourite hockey team the Toronto Maple leafs. It is that self indulgent a movie.

Mike Myers can make funny films and you can see where traces of humour can be found here but it really is time that he lost a lot of his trademark moments and just found what was funny again. Also he should never be allowed to work with Verne Troyer again. That midget stuff was funny once, for about five minutes in 1999.

MARKS: 2/5.

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