"The Love Guru" is, not surprisingly, yet another wacky character from Mike Meyers. While "Love Guru" is one of those films that would have seriously sabotaged another career, but Meyers seems to have generated enough audience goodwill to ride out this mistake. The film sees Meyers playing the Guru Pitka, a famed love guru who isn't exactly thrilled at his second place status behind Deepak Chopra, who he studied with as a young man under the legendary Guru Tugginmypudha (Ben Kingsley).
In the present day, famed Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) is doing poorly on the ice because he's lost his girlfriend, Prudence (Meagan Good) to Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake), a player for the Los Angeles Kings. If he can reunite Prudence and Darren for the Maple Leafs' owner, Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), Pitka thinks that he'll achieve the kind of fame that Chopra has. Oh, and he'll get to go on "Oprah", too.
That's really it for the plot, which is more fit for a "Saturday Night Live" skit than a full-length movie (while the running time is 86 minutes, there's actually only about 80 minutes of movie here and a few minutes of that is taken up by musical numbers.) Meyers and Graham Gordy wrote the screenplay, and the film's main issue is that not only is the story rather thin, but while a quarter of the movie's comedy offers up a decent (at best) spoof of self-help gurus, the 75% of the film consists of some of the most (and the most) juvenile bathroom humor I've heard in a movie in a while.
At times, it almost seems as if every line in the movie is a penis, poop or fart joke or something of the like. Oh, and with "Austin Powers" co-star Verne Troyer playing the coach of the Maple Leafs, Meyers adds in plenty of little person jokes - calling Troyer's character "Frodo" is not exactly unexpected. Meyers doesn't exactly help matters by having Pitka laugh hysterically at many of the gags. Meyers even references his own career with a quick "Wayne's World" joke.
As for the peformances, Meyers hasn't exactly surrounded himself with the most talented comedians. The casting of Jessica Alba is more than a little questionable - say what you want about Alba, but I think we can all agree that comedy is not exactly what she's best at. Pitka and Jane are supposed to be interested in each other romantically, and the two actors don't even begin to have chemistry with one another.
Malco isn't much better, mainly just staring blankly at Meyers as Meyers runs the scene. Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan are wasted as the announcers for the Maple Leafs. The only supporting player that actually gets some laughs is Timberlake who, surprisingly, seems to be willing to make an absolute and utter fool out of himself for a joke (the Canadian character's reaction to hearing that Celine Dion is about to make a surpise performance is nothing short of absolutely hysterical.)
Jessica Simpson (not funny, although that's also not surprising), Val Kilmer (amusing) and Mariska Hargitay (whose name is used for a running joke that's funny a couple of times, but not funny when it's run into the ground by the movie) are among the stars who make cameos. I'll give Ben Kingsley some credit and go without mentioning his performance here.
"The Love Guru" isn't awful enough to end the career of Mike Meyers, but it's gotten to the point where one wonders when Meyers will advance beyond playing wacky characters. The poop humor of "The Love Guru" is beneath the kind of comedic skills Meyers has sometimes shown he's capable of. I could ask what he saw in the material, but he wrote it.
VIDEO: "The Love Guru" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen by Paramount Home Entertainment. The film's vibrant color palette looked absolutely superb on this release, appearing well-saturated and vibrant, with tones that looked spot-on. Sharpness and detail weren't overly remarkable, but the picture did appear at least crisp and well-defined throughout the majority of the running time.
The presentation did show some slight instances of edge enhancement at times, as well as a few traces of artifacting. However, the film otherwise appeared clean and clear, with no specks, marks or other faults. Overall, this wasn't demo-worthy, but it was a very nice transfer, nonetheless.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offered a fairly standard comedy mix, with the surrounds only kicking in to provide some mild reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was very good, with crisp, clear dialogue and bassy, rich-sounding music - especially the musical finale, which is a Bollywood-style performance of "The Joker", by Steve Miller Band.
EXTRAS: A digital copy of the film on an additional disc, as well as 11 deleted/alternate scenes, bloopers and outtakes from both the cast and - separately - the Gaffigan and Colbert characters. In the featurette department, we get the short "Inside Look" featurette, a featurette on the actors' hockey training and a featurette on building the anamatronic elephant. The trailer and previews for other titles from the studio are also included.
Final Thoughts: I didn't think "Love Guru" was the disaster that some claimed it to be, but it's still clearly a miss from Meyers. There are a few genuinely witty and/or funny moments (although, remarkably, the funniest moment of the movie actually comes from Timberlake) scattered throughout the movie, but they're overshadowed by what's essentially a pile of tired bathroom jokes.
The Film C-