The Love Guru (DVD)

Consider these points. Mike Myers, the man behind Austin Powers, turning his attention to the self-inflated self-help market. The eminently likeable Romany Malco (Weeds, Baby Mama) as a hockey player terrified of his mum. Daily Show regular John Oliver as an uptight business manager. Justin Timberlake as an enormously endowed French Canadian with a Celine Dion obsession.

They're funny right? All of the above, on paper, are funny. Fact. Hell, the last one alone has got to be worth five minutes of giggles. Go on. We'll wait. Just picture Justin Timberlake getting down to Celine Dion. You're laughing, right? And we haven't even mentioned the bad perm and the big moustache...

So what went wrong? Because The Love Guru isn't funny. And when we say it isn't funny, we mean it's really not funny. Fact. There's less than 60 seconds of laugh-out-loud material in the 85 (but seems longer) minutes of running time. Of that, 10 seconds comes at the start — a Morgan Freeman voiceover gag that's genius until you remember it's a blatant steal from Family Guy — 10 seconds comes with a gloriously silly visual gag in Verne Troyer's reduced scale office, 10 seconds comes from an Oscar speech gag (which is thrown away in the trailer) and 30 seconds comes from a Verne Troyer outtake in the end credits. Although 29 seconds of that could also be relief that the ordeal is over.

None of the laughs then come from the main story of Pitka (Myers), the American teenager raised — alongside Deepak Chopra — to be a guru. None come from the story of the star hockey player unable to score since he found out his wife has shacked up with Timberlake's rival player. None come from Jessica Alba as the team's owner and object of Pitka's (chastity-belted) affection. And less than none come from character names such as Guru Tugginmypuddha, Dick Pants and Coach Cherkov. Jesus. We have passed the Millenium, right?

The most depressing thing is you know that Myers — and certainly the production team — must have realised just how far short of the mark he's fallen yet they just kept flogging away at a horse that's not so much dead as already cat food. The borderline racism you'd take if it just made you laugh, or sent itself up like Myers' comedies used to. Instead, as befits a film that's approx 93% dick jokes, it's one minute of comedy and 86 minutes of circle jerk.

 

EXTRAS *** There is a decent mix of features and interviews on this single-disc edition, but none quite provide the insight available on more comprehensive DVD packages. Mike Myers and The Love Guru: An Inside Look includes interviews with principal cast, while the Hockey Training for Actors is helmed by an overly excitable assistant director who almost dribbles at the ice-skating potential of Justin Timberlake. Animatronic guys show us how they made the top half of an elephant and the back half of an ostrich in One Hellava Elephant, while the rest of the bundle is made up of bloopers, outtakes, deleted and extended scenes and the customary trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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