The Love Guru (2008) The great Mike Myers characters — Austin Powers, Wayne Campbell, Dieter — all have an inner twinkle, a lyrical crackpot joy that seems to erupt,… 2008-06-20 Comedy Mike Myers Jessica Alba Justin Timberlake
Movie Review

The Love Guru (2008)

Mike Myers, The Love Guru | THE LOVE GURU Mike Myers as the Guru Pitka
Image credit: George Kraychyk
THE LOVE GURU Mike Myers as the Guru Pitka
EW's GRADE
D+

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

The great Mike Myers characters — Austin Powers, Wayne Campbell, Dieter — all have an inner twinkle, a lyrical crackpot joy that seems to erupt, without precedent, out of Myers' naughty-boy id. That doesn't happen in The Love Guru. As the Guru Pitka, a cheeseball ersatz-Indian mystic in oversize love beads who teaches his celebrity clients how to renounce their egos (even as he personally craves the nirvana of being asked onto Oprah), Myers is trying for another of his endearingly hormonal imp-egomaniacs, but hidden behind a wavy beard, a wax-curled mustache, and an astoundingly ugly squashed fake nose, he's a little too grotesque. He plays this flyweight charlatan with a Groucho-lite corrupt patter but without the requisite touch of innocence. The whole characterization is tacky and far too secondhand. Pitka, in essence, is the Maharishi dragged into the age of Deepak Chopra, and Myers doesn't bring much to him beyond a lispy one-note accent (singsong Indian dialect veddy funny, no? Actually...no), his usual beaming leer, and a penchant for lines like ''I'm so hungry I could eat a skunk's bottom!''

As a Caucasian orphan who studied at an Indian ashram with a blind guru (Ben Kingsley, clowning far more merrily than Myers), Pitka was forced to wear a chastity belt, and he still wears one. The movie's equivalent of ''Schwing!'' is the slightly depressing ''Clonk!'' of Pitka getting excited within his metal pelvic prison. But who wants to see a satire of a holy man's lasciviousness in which the hero's business remains under lock and key? The me-so-horny jokes in The Love Guru are limp imitations of the ones in the Austin Powers movies — they're basically Myers doing ''Take my crotch, please!'' And the movie, perhaps as a result, tends to fixate on even lower bodily functions. Pitka performs a few songs on the sitar (''Nine to Five,'' ''More Than This''), and he doles out words of wisdom in the form of dirty anagrams, but if you're in the mood for a delightful tweak of today's self-actualizing New Age gurus and their be-here-now snake oil, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you want to see gags about boogers, elephant poop, and mano-a-mano duels with mops drenched in urine, then this is the movie for you. The plot, incidentally, is a lifeless ordeal in which Pitka gets hired by the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba, pin-up bland) to spiritually enlighten her failing star player (Romany Malco), whose wife has been sleeping with a well-endowed rival. Did I mention that the rival is played, in a '70s mustache, by Justin Timberlake? Or that he's a Celine Dion fan? Okay, you can laugh now. D+

Originally posted Jun 20, 2008 Published in issue #1001 Jul 11, 2008 Order article reprints