“The Love Guru” is an inane, humorless comedy sure to leave audiences unrequited.
Its most grave offense comes not just from the nature of the material—which straddles the border between juvenile and infantile—but its bland presentation.
Comedian Mike Myers, who co-wrote, stars in, and co-produced this disappointing film, has done something rather extraordinary: he makes real-life guru Deepak Chopra look like Henny Youngman in comparison.
Sight gags, name gags (Ben Kingsley plays Guru Tugginmypudha, for example), and an assortment of comedic cheap tricks do little to produce anything but sad, uncomfortable laughter.
It is as if everything that went right in Myers’ “Austin Powers” 1960s spy spoof films goes dreadfully wrong in “The Love Guru,” directed by first-timer Marco Schnabel, a second-unit director for “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”
The plot—rice paper thin as it is—still manages to lumber.
Myers plays Guru Pitka, a Chopra-wannabe who mixes self-help with self-promotion. He sees his chance to overtake his idol as top guru—if only he can land an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Pitka is hired by Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), the beleaguered owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, to raise the flaccid spirit of her star player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco).
Roanoke’s game has gone south ever since his wife has been spending time with the prodigiously endowed L.A. Kings goalie, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake).
Elephant poop, a cross-eyed Ben Kingsley, and more ‘le coq’ jokes than you can shake a stick at are all part of the road to spiritual salvation.
Little person jokes are in abundance as well. “I’m sorry I didn’t catch your gnome,” Pitka says to Verne Troyer, the dwarf actor who plays the Leafs’ coach.
But even Troyer (Mini-Me from “Austin Powers”) appears a bit tired of it all.
Cameo appearances by Chopra, Kanye West, Jessica Simpson, and Law & Order’s Mariska Hargitay, (whose name is the source of a painfully repetitious joke) are uniformly lame.
The bad-jokes-so-bad-you-laugh premise, which worked for Myers in “Wayne’s World” and the first “Austin Powers” film, are now just bad jokes.
Sure, Myers is still winking at the camera, but it is hard to look him in the eye after this misfire.
All you don’t need is this kind of “Love.”
The Love Guru: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some comic violence and drug references. Running time: 88 minutes. With: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Ben Kingsley, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, and Verne Troyer.