The Love Guru

The Love Guru marks Mike Myers’ attempt to step back into live action after the miserable Cat in the Hat movie. If nothing else, this film is better than that one, even if it’s just about as forgettable. Actually, it might be more forgettable, if only because The Cat in the Hat probably mentally scarred more children than it would care to admit. This one probably won’t have the same effect, although if you have an aversion to male genital jokes, you’ll want to avoid it anyway.

Myers, who also produced and co-wrote the film, plays a man named Guru Pitka, who holds seminars on how to improve lives and whatnot. His goal in life is to become as well-known as Deepak Chopra, and to accomplish that, he believes that he needs to get on Oprah. He’s about to get that opportunity, if he can fix the star player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco). Roanoke had his wife (Meagan Good) leave him, and hasn’t been able to play hockey properly since. So, the “Love Guru” is brought in to solve the relationship problems at the request of the team’s owner, Jane (Jessica Alba), and if he can do so, Oprah will have him on her show.

Most of the film involves whimsical skits that only have vague connections to each other. It’s kind of like watching Saturday Night Live, which I suppose makes sense considering Myers’ background. Basically, anything that Myers wants his character to do, he will do, and if that doesn’t make much sense, the character’s nature is blamed for the lack of coherency. It works to some extent, although it grows tiresome after a while.

You can kind of see how low the film’s aiming when it casts Verne Troyer as the coach of the Leafs. And if you just laughed, this movie is perfect for you and you should go watch it right now. Oh, and Justin Timberlake plays a French Canadian goaltender who stole Roanoke’s wife, making the two rivals. And Ben Kingsley shows up as Guru Pitka’s cross-eyed guru. And Stephen Colbert gets the most laughs of anyone, turning up as a hockey announcer who would never get a job with CBC but that’s kind of the point, I think.

Myers is Canadian, and I’m sure he wrote the film with lots of love to his home country, but I’d like him to explain to me exactly why so much of the hockey aspect is wrong in this film. Each team gets one timeout per game, not multiple. Referees do not have the power to suspend players for upcoming games. And why, oh why, would Rob Blake be taking a face-off with 31 seconds to go in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals — especially when it’s a tied game? And was he not aware that overtime is a thing and that it happens if a game finished in a tie?

I have a feeling it was done in the spirit of satire, but that doesn’t come across well in the film. Instead, it comes across as laziness that he hopes he will get away with because it’s a film made for American audiences and most of them won’t really care. But, then, I think about how many Americans would be interested at all in a film based around hockey players and hockey culture, and wonder exactly why they would be the target audience in the first place, especially with the financial trouble that many American hockey teams face.

Really, I think the only ones who would appreciate it are the big hockey fans out there. That’s right, Canadians, this is a movie for you, even if the element you’ll like has been chopped up a little. You’ll at least get many of the jokes (that don’t involve male genitalia), which isn’t something that a non-fan could say. If you do like low-brow humor, then you’ll probably like it regardless, but if you also happen to like hockey, you’ll probably have a better chance of getting it.

So, yeah, I did kind of like The Love Guru, even if it’s all over the place, doesn’t really make a lot of sense, and feels rushed. But for a 90 minute escape from reality, it does the job well enough. I laugh quite a few times, I felt fine after watching it, and while I’ll probably forget about it in a few days, it passed the time just fine. I wasn’t really expecting it to do much more than that, and I don’t really know why you would.

While Mike Myers doesn’t exactly create an iconic character here like he did with Austin Powers — or even Shrek, to a lesser extent — he’s likable here and you always want to see what shenanigans he’ll get up to next. He’s what drives the film, even if many of the supporting cast members are funnier. It was mostly the small roles, like Colbert’s, that made me laugh the most. I don’t want to spoil some of the cameos, but there are a bunch and seeing them will likely make you smile.

The Love Guru is a harmless distraction of a film that makes so little sense that it’s almost worth watching for the train wreck that it is. It’s funny, admittedly, but probably only that way if you like low-brow humor or if you’re a hockey fan. I’m not exactly sure who the film is for, but I know that, for the most part, I did laugh, and I had a good time. That’s not necessarily a recommendation, as it’s not really well made, the characters have no depth, and there’s nothing special about it, but for a 90 minute distraction — look, it’s an elephant!

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