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The Love Guru (2008)

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Mike Myers, Manu Narayan, ... | MYERS
Image credit: George Kraychyk
MYERS

Details Release Date: Jun 20, 2008; Genre: Comedy; With: Mike Myers

A few years ago, a mysterious one-man show began popping up in New York comedy clubs: ''An Evening of Spiritual Enlightenment With His Holiness the Guru Pitka.'' Attendees bracing themselves for some sort of Eastern-inflected self-help seminar saw the light when the Guru turned out to be Mike Myers, field-testing his newest character, a wild and woolly American-born, ashram-trained spiritual leader whose mantra is ''Mariska Hargitay.'' If this sounds like a rather arduous way for a major comedy star to develop material, consider that the last time Myers workshopped a character, he came up with a jaunty little creation called Austin Powers. ''Mike's like a mad scientist in a lab,'' says Guru director Marco Schnabel.

Chronicling Pitka's misadventures as he attempts to overtake Deepak Chopra as the world's reigning relationship expert, Guru has all the trappings of a broad romp in the Powers mold, mercilessly skewering purveyors of pop New Age wisdom. But while a few religious leaders have expressed concern that the film lampoons Hinduism, Myers insists he isn't targeting any particular faith: ''[Pitka's belief system] is nondenominational and completely fictional,'' he says.

Indeed, for the comedian — who hasn't made a non-Shrek film in five long years — Guru comes from a place of deep, well, love. For more than a decade, Myers has been on what he terms a ''spiritual quest,'' soaking up the teachings of writers like Chopra, who makes a cameo in the film. In bringing Guru to summer moviegoers, Myers hopes to slip them genuine pearls of wisdom — amid the dwarf-tossing and bawdy wordplay. ''I want the film to be a real celebration of life and happiness and silliness,'' he says. ''Part of enlightenment is to lighten up.'' Dr. Evil, meet your newest adversary. (June 20)

Originally posted Apr 21, 2008 Published in issue #988-989 Apr 25, 2008 Order article reprints