Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 23 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
The Love Guru
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
Maurice Pitka (Mike Myers) is an improbable guru. An American raised by gurus himself, his official greeting to visitors is “Mariska Hargitay.” When he’s not zipping around his Hollywood ashram on an electric carpet, he rides a bejeweled elephant named Bodhisattva and is the #2 man in his field, Deepak Chopra being the main dude (he’s been on Oprah after all).
Trained by cross-eyed guru swami Tugginmapudha (Ben Kingsley) our man Pitka has mnemonic devices galore to describe his teaching on life matters. For example, D.R.A.M.A. (Distraction, Regression, Adjustment, Maturity, and Action) serves as the Guru’s foremost philosophy: love yourself in order to love others. B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) is another tenet. Some of the acronyms are suggestive (Be Loving and Open With My Emotions). Intimacy becomes “Into me I see”, and Nowhere morphs into “now here.” Endlessly optimistic, Guru Pitka also leads the blissfully faithful with books entitled, “If It Hurts When You Do That, Stop Doing That.”
Called upon by Toronto Maple Leafs (TML) owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) to help her star hockey player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) win his estranged wife, Prudence (Meagan Good) back from rival LA Kings’ goalie Jacque “le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake). Pitka employs all of his considerable wisdom to the task.
The TML’s angry, pint-sized coach, Punch Cherkov (Verne Troyer) is the butt of merciless teasing from the good guru, quite out of character for the love-filled spiritual advisor, but perfect for some lowbrow humor (no pun intended). You can easily forget that these two were once the inseparable Dr. Evil and his Mini-Me. Here, Coach Cherkov is treated more like a puck than a partner.
Bullard becomes Pitka’s improbable love interest. We know when he’s aroused by the ping of his erection against the metal chastity belt he’s worn for years. This is one of the milder gags regarding male genitalia that weaves its way through the 88 minutes of “enlightenment” that the film offers.
Roanoke’s mother, Lillian (Telma Hopkins) is a stern choir director who intimidates her son so much that he can’t play the game in front of her. To top it all off, the Kings and the Maple Leafs are competing for the sport’s coveted Stanley Cup. Guru Pitka must orchestrate reconciliation between Roanoke and his wife to ensure that the hockey star will play his best for the team.
The rest of the film is a collection of toilet humor and penis gags to rival the Apatow/Rogen team. This is Myers’ own Superbad, and he fills it with characters named Dick Pants and Swami Satchabigknoba. There’s a scene where an elephant defecates into a large garbage can, toted about by Pitka sidekick Rajneesh (Manu Narayan), and another where Pitka as a Guru-in-training must fight an opponent with a urine-soaked mop. Lower bodily functions definitely have a starring role in this production.
There are cameos by Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, Val Kilmer, Mariska Hargitay and Deepak Chopra. Oprah is seen but not heard; her voice is supplied by a voice double.
Director Marco Schnabel’s feature debut (he was 2nd unit director on Meet the Fockers) is a weak plot strung together with extremely juvenile genital jokes incorporating sex, flatulence, and even an elephant copulation scene, which makes sense when put together with the Toronto Maple Leafs achieving playoff status. One good fantasy deserves another. In addition to occupying the titular role, Myers also produced and co-wrote the film (with Graham Gordy).
He incorporates nods to Bollywood, Wayne’s World, Austin Powers, and even a verklempt moment worthy of Linda Richman. What’s missing here is the heart those characters had. By comparison, Guru Pitka seems terribly one-note and mean-spirited. Genuine cleverness is always overtaken by crass immaturity.
Mike Myers wallows in his latest character like a mop in urine (he invented the image). Justin Timberlake is a good sport as the well-endowed goalie who’s also a huge Celine Dion fan. Jessica Alba wears lip-gloss well, but has virtually zero chemistry with Myers. Verne Troyer looks pissed at what he’s made to endure for a paycheck. Romany Malco is a sympathetic character who will hopefully graduate to more substantial roles. He’s paying his dues with this one.
I leave The Love Guru with an acronym of my own: He’d be Better Off Making Beads than another film like this one.