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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Love Guru (Blu-ray)
The Love Guru (Blu-ray)
Paramount // PG-13 // September 16, 2008 // Region A
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted September 6, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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Morbid curiosity.

Oh! Sorry. I just figured you'd
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wanna know why I'd subject myself -- willingly, even! -- to a shitball comedy like The Love Guru. C'mon, when that many people point at a flick and gripe about it being the worst of the year, I can't help myself. I just need to know. To cram this review down to a few words...? Yeah. Yeah, it's every bit as awful as everyone says it is.

It's been around five years since Mike Myers last bothered with a live-action flick, so to ease back into mugging in front of a camera for 86 minutes straight, he opted to chuck the whole Austin Powers formula in the microwave and mash "Defrost". Y'know: hide behind a goofy accent and over-the-type wardrobe, throw out a few hundred thousand double entendre dick jokes, slobber over whatever foxy actress is stuck playing the love interest... Hell, they even threw in Verne Troyer.

So, yeah. Even with as unwatchable as the Austin Powers flicks got near the end there, The Love Guru is...it's just aggressively un-funny. I guess the idea is that if a gag doesn't get a laugh once, hammer it into the ground forty or fifty more times, and maybe you'll wear the crowd down. Nope. I didn't chuckle, giggle, smirk, smile, grin, or what-the-hell-ever once throughout The Love Guru. It's depressing, really, seeing Myers mug to the camera for an hour and a half straight, beaming with the confidence that he's kicking off The Next Great Comedy Franchise while failing so thoroughly. I'd almost feel badly for Myers if he didn't come across as such an unlikeable, arrogant prick.

Ugh. I'm getting ahead of myself, though: I'm supposed to do the whole plot summary thing before diving into the rant. Here goes: Guru Pitka (Myers) is poised to be the next Deepak Chopra, taking over five or six shelves at Books-A-Million with a gaggle of self-help books teeming with Eastern wisdom and lots and lots of helpful acronyms. Yeah, yeah, he's rich, he's pampered, he's adored the world over...but even though his fame is anchored around teaching others to love themselves, Pitka...:sniffles!:...still has a couple of things standing in the way of his own happiness. One...? A slot on Oprah so he can dethrone Deepak Chopra as America's fav'rite elliptical Eastern mysticism self-help factory. Two...? A chastity belt he's stuck wearing until he finds true love.

The answer to both of those problems lies in...where else? Toronto! Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) inherited the Toronto Maple Leafs from her pops, and the team stands on the brink of breaking the Bullard family curse that's plagued 'em for decades now that they're playing for the Stanley Cup. The thing is star player
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Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) -- y'know, the Tiger Woods of hockey -- can't get his head in the game after his wife (Meagan Good) saddled up next to a Fraunch-Canadian cockslinger of a goalie (Justin Timberlake). So, Janey Jane flies in Pitka to get these two crazy kids back together again and shore up the team's chances at the Cup, and hilarity ensues. Well, it doesn't ensue so much, and that's kinda the problem.

So, what are we lookin' at here? If you get tired of all the dick and fart jokes (and there are a metric ton of 'em), The Love Guru tosses in some booger gags too. You get to watch as Ben Kingsley slums it as a crosseyed, nunchuck-flinging guru who pours tea into a cup through his nose and forces his students to duke it out with mops sopping with urine. You know how Verne Troyer is a little person, right? Right? So, he has this office, and -- get this! -- it's little too! Mike Myers is in there and keeps hitting his head on the ceiling! He can barely fit into that tiny furniture! Oh, and that coach Troyer plays may be an ornery little cuss, but just wait until he catches on fire and speeds down the ice like a hockey puck! Elephant humping winds up being a key plot point. Justin Timberlake's character belts out Celine Dion in a faux-Quebecois accent while Mike Myers is attacked by a rooster, and if I'm accidentally making any of that sound borderline-funny...no. No, it's not.

The movie just...it just keeps bludgeoning the audience over the head with the same jokes again and again in the hopes that eventually...somehow...one of 'em will get a laugh. I mean, The Love Guru opens with Guru Pitka playing "9 to 5" on a sitar. Later in the movie, he and his sidekick re-enact pretty much the entire video for Extreme's "More Than Words" doing the same schtick (take that, 1992!), and then he picks a third song off the jukebox for the end credits. I mean, we're talking about an 86 minute movie, and a double-digit percentage of that lean runtime is wasted on Sitar Karaoke. One early self-help seminar is exhaustingly repetitive as Myers keeps hammering out the same acronym jokes -- the comedy hinges on acronyms, for cryin' out loud -- again and again and again. Pitka says "I am making diarrhea sounds in my cup" in between...y'know, making diarrhea sounds in his cup. For two minutes. Okay, I didn't actually time that, or what I'd swear would have to be four minutes straight of ball jokes during a romantic dinner. The Love Guru tries to relentlessly lob one gag out after another in the hopes of making it up with sheer volume -- hey, it worked for The Naked Gun -- but it's soulcrushingly far from ever getting a laugh.

Y'know, I'm a blackhearted, cynical little bastard, but in a roundabout way, The Love Guru brought back a little of my faith in humanity. In the space of one summer, Disaster Movie and The Love Guru both leaned on stale sight gags, limpwristed "hey-I-get-that" pop culture references, and dick and fart jokes, and America proudly banded together and said "no thanks" before going back to their Baconators and Dancing with the Stars. Thanks, Mike Myers.

Video: Well, at least it looks slick. This Blu-ray disc is crisp, candy-colored, and ree-diculously detailed, and if you can get past the fact that this is...y'know, The Love Guru, it's
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showcase material. Sure, I could bitch about the movie for a couple hours straight, but I really can't find anything to gripe about this sparkling, shiny high-def disc at all. The 2.39:1 image is bolstered by a strong sense of dimensionality and a really vivid palette, and the barely-there sheen of film grain remains tight and unintrusive throughout. See? I said something nice. Nice and awkwardly technical, even. Now -- back to the bitching!

Audio: The Love Guru packs on a lossless Dolby TrueHD track, not that it really matters for a flick sporting sound design this bland. The mix hardly ever bothers strolling past the front channels. The sub belts out a decent low-frequency thump to punctuate all the checks on the ice and a hootenanny bar fight, but otherwise, that big box in the corner kinda just sits there caked in dust for an hour and a half. Some light ambiance creeps into the surrounds, and the rears give a few scattered effects like Pitka being chucked through a glass window a little extra punch, but...yeah, that's about it. Oh, sure, the dialogue and all is reproduced cleanly and clearly -- I mean, there aren't any nasty technical hiccups or anything -- but The Love Guru is still saddled with awfully boring, room temperature sound design.

Paramount has also tossed on Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in French and Spanish along with subtitle streams in English (traditional and SDH), French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Extras: The Love Guru piles on a bunch of featurettes and outtakes -- and they're all in shiny, shiny high-def! -- but...yeah, they're still kind of a waste of time.

"Mike Myers
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and The Love Guru: An Inside Look" is kind of like a ten minute Mad Libs game where every page reads "____________ is amazing!" Yeah, it's your garden variety, doctor prescribed Mutual Admiration Society making-of that's nothing but a parade of people gushing about how wonderful everyone and everything is, although there is a quick intro to where Myers' guru character came from and a kinda-sorta interesting story about kicking off the shoot in a pint-sized office with fragile 4 ft. ceilings.

"One Helluva Elephant" (6 min.) shows off an intricately crafted elephant puppet -- how it was designed, how it works, and all that fun stuff -- and it's actually the only extra on this disc I really found all that worth watching. A floppy elephant trunk and the back half of an egg-squirting ostrich also get a little face time.

The last of the featurettes is "Hockey Training for Actors" (8 min.), which gabs about trying to make the hockey scenes authentic by teaching a super-enthused Romany Malco to skate and shoving a bunch of professional players with him in front of the camera.

Let's get this over with and just tear through the rest. The blooper reel is pretty much four minutes straight of the usual blown lines and clowning around. "Back in the Booth with Trent & Jerry" (5 min.) crams together some more improv with the movie's hockey announcers: a drug-addled Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan playing the straight man. "Outtakes & More" (10 min.) is...well, yeah, aptly titled, I guess. It's just a barrage of extended or alternate takes of what's already in the movie...y'know, even more of the same stuff that didn't get much of a laugh in the first place. The same goes for a fourteen minute pile of deleted and extended scenes, and it lobs out relentless ass-poking, JT rattling off a bunch of ze Fraunch clichés, a fight scene with a cabbie for what-the-hell-ever reason in the climax, a...um, sex scene, and some other stuff that's drenched in a couple gallons of flop sweat.

A high-def theatrical trailer rounds out the extras. Oh, and if you have an iPod or a laptop and...um, hate yourself, The Love Guru sports a second disc with a portable digital copy of the flick so you can watch it anywhere you go.

Conclusion: C'mon, no. Skip It.
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