The Love Guru (2008)

(On TV, December 2016) Some film pundits often refer to The Love Guru as the film that killed Mike Myers’ film career and while that’s a harsh assessment (I suspect that Myers’ own oft-reported personal issues largely played a role in his disappearance from the big screen—studio executives are more forgiving of box-office failure if they happen to people they like) it does acknowledge the fact that it’s simply not a good film. This being said, there are bits and pieces that sound great on paper: A movie largely revolving around the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team? Faux-Indian rendition of songs such as The Joker and 9 to 5? Featured roles for Jessica Alba, with appearances by John Oliver and Stephen Colbert? Justin Timberlake as a secondary character gleefully perpetuating the stereotype of French-Canadians with legendary intimate attributes? How can I not get on-board with that? Alas, it takes a remarkably short time for the wheels to fall off The Love Guru. The stereotypical humour begins from the first shot of the film, while various comic bits feel old barely two minutes after being introduced and repeated. It gets progressively worse, as the film’s self-satisfied comic arrogance mugs for laughs that don’t exist, introduces pauses for laughter that never comes and revels in gross-out humour ten years after everyone else … all the way to a strikingly inappropriate animal sex sequence played on ice. (There’s a joke about Mariska Hargitay that’s as dumb as anything else ever dreamed up—the kind of stuff that should never survive a first draft.) Given Mike Myer’s roles as producer writer and star, as well as the example set by his previous feature films, it’s not hard to find someone to blame for The Love Guru’s unfunny pileup. In any other film, the portrayal of Hindi culture would have been offensive—here’s it’s just stuck in a much bigger mess. Despite my best intentions, the film simply doesn’t work.

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