There is a fine line between genius and junk, especially in the realm of comedy. What makes one audience member laugh can legitimately cause another to groan in disbelief. No one has been more adept at this schizophrenic approach to satire than Mike Myers
. The kitchen sink cacophony of his big screen spoofs expertly illustrates the "anything for a laugh" paradigm. Sadly, his latest effort, the lame Love Guru, forgets to move beyond the groin to mine its wit. If cleverness were a symphony, Myers composed this tired tune for male organ only.
Born in America but raised in India, the self help guru Maurice Pitka (Myers) is tired of being known as the poor man's Deepak Chopra. When Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco
), star player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, gets into a scoring slump near the start of the Stanley Cup finals, team owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba
) and coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer
) are desperate. Seems Roanke's wife (Meagan Good
) has recently left him, and is now shacking up with the goalie for the opposing Los Angeles Kings, the infamously well-endowed Jacques "Le Coq" Grande (Justin Timberlake
). If the Leafs have any chance at all of winning, they must find a way to mend the leader's marriage. The answer appears to be Pitka and his radical "DRAMA" method of enlightenment. Article continues below
Somewhere, sitting in a room cluttered with Mr. Pibb cans and half-consumed bags of Funyuns is the adolescent writing staff responsible for The Love Guru. Sure, Mike Myers and Graham Gordy are listed on the credits as creating this penis-obsessed dreck, but only sexually confused and hormonally hyperactive teenagers would dream up humor this draped in bodily functions, schoolyard taunts, and juvenile joke names. When it's not finding new ways to reference guy parts, it's wallowing in a kind of flawed Freudian fixation that has every orifice present and providing punchlines. Gone is any attempt -- a la Austin Powers -- at parodying a specific genre or cinematic type (Bollywood does get a couple of minor song and dance lampoons). Instead, we get nothing but 80 minutes of Fat Bastard style scatology.
When Verne Troyer and Justin Timberlake are the best things about your movie, you know something's amiss. Both actors enliven their sophomoric stereotypes with a decent amount of energy and wit. Alba, naturally, is all pouty lips, toothy grin... and little else. She's like a void where a viable actress belongs. Malco and Good have no chemistry together, so we never care if they get back together, and Myers can't decide if he wants to mock Chopra, embrace him, or simply pile on the poop and wiener references.
In the end, The Love Guru feels like a film that's slightly askew, as if Myers and first time director Marco Schnabel were on different pages on how to approach this material. Somewhere in the Shrek star's brain, you can tell he thinks this is sophisticated sputum, gross-out with a hint of irony meant to satisfy both the brain and the buttocks. But the man behind the lens takes a page out of the Adam Sandler
School of Moviemaking. He simply sets his camera up and lets his star go spastic. As a result, the movie lacks focus, and never finds the proper balance between what's funny and just plain foul.
Still, no one has ever gone broke overestimating the moviegoing demographics' love of anything remotely regressive. The Love Guru is so devolved it practically champions Intelligent Design, except there is not one ounce of cleverness (or comedy) up on the screen.