I had absolutely no expectations that Mike Myers' latest comedy opus, The Love Guru, would be any more entertaining than watching my neighbors argue about hummus through their living room window (happened last night, no joke). So imagine my surprise when, as the movie's credits rolled, I found myself glad I had actually shown up for the press screening I'd seriously considered skipping about 22 times that day. Now I'm not saying I'd just witnessed the Second Coming here, but I did laugh quite a bit and actually felt inclined to bring up two or three scenarios to my girlfriend when I got home. The Love Guru is at worst an innocuous, silly satire of the trend-driven self-help industry, and it's at least worth the price of a DVD rental. Getting to watching it for free, as critics do, should have made the experience even less painful -- yet as I type this, The Love Guru is boasting an 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Seriously, critics of America? Eleven percent? You gave You Don't Mess with the Zohan a 34% approval rating despite that fact that, A) it's one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and B) there's not an iota of intelligence behind its inane, brain-cell-assassinating "jokes" (my girlfriend is still cursing about it). How does this make sense? It doesn't, which is why you shouldn't listen to most critics. Hell, I just attacked Zohan, but there's a good chance you liked it. In my opinion, that makes you a dolt. I can't help but feel superior to you. Does that mean you shouldn't enjoy it? Absolutely not. It's your right to be a dolt, and I don't have a right to attack your poor taste in movies.
I just do it because it's fun.
Back on topic: The Love Guru. In case you don't know the basic premise, here goes. Mike Myers is Guru Pitka, a second-rate spiritualist who wants nothing more than to be as popular as Deepak Chopra, because, deep down, he doesn't really like himself. When the Toronto Maple Leafs' beautiful owner (Jessica Alba) hires him to rehabilitate her heartbroken star (Romany Malco) before the Stanley Cup playoffs, Pitka sees nothing but an opportunity to land a guest spot on Oprah. Laughs and cameos ensue on the way to enlightenment, including a rather brilliant bit by Val Kilmer, who is either making fun of himself for being a space case or pimping his already addled reputation for extra cash.
The movie is nothing but a collection of absurd skits, the sort of thing that would've made Peter Sellers' nether-regions get all tingly. In fact, it's no less absurd or skit-driven than, say, Myers' earlier works, Wayne's World and the Austin Powers trilogy -- almost every scene in every one of these movies could stand alone on Saturday Night Live. I've never really met anybody who disliked these movies, even though Rotten Tomatoes boasts more than a few critics from major news outlets who hate on them for the same reasons they praise Seller's Pink Panther movies. Long story short, I'm here to say The Love Guru isn't a terrible night out despite what you've heard. When it's released on DVD, it'll be an even more fun night in. Then again, what do I know? I'm a critic who might also think you're a dolt. At least I'm honest about it.
reviewed by Cole Haddon