THE LOVE GURU Blu-ray Review

     September 16, 2008

Written by Andre Dellamorte

When people saw the trailer for The Love Guru, the response was “oh, another Mike Meyers movie.” Not “oh! Another Mike Myers movie!” Myers schtick may have soured after Austin Powers ran its course, or after The Cat in the Hat dug up Dr. Seuss and put him in a dress. Or it could just be the absence. The Mike Myers tm experience had not been on display except in shock at Kanye West for speaking his mind. So, by the time I sat down with the film on the lowered video expectations tour, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Myers plays Guru Pitka, an American gone native in Indian, and constantly bucking at being second place to Deepak Chopra. His chance for success comes when he gets offered job working for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) getting her star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) over his break up with his with Prudence (Megan Good, with nothing to do). She’s moved on to Jacques “The Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake),, whose penis is so comically huge that it thuds when he takes his underwear off. Of course Guru Pitka is into Jane, but is wearing a chastity belt, which his guru, Guru Tugginmypudha (Ben Kingsley) put on him as a youth. There’s also Pitka’s assistant Guru Stachabigknoba (Omid Djalli) and the Toronto coach Punch Cherkoff (Verne Troyer)..

Yes, these are the jokes. Myers loves jokes that would make twelve year old boys giggle, and that’s almost everything that comes out of his mouth. It’s all about sexuality, implying things, and – you know – it would probably be easier to take if Myers didn’t mug directly to the camera, and characters in the film weren’t constantly laughing at his jokes. I haven’t seen many modern films with what amounts to a laugh track, but Love Guru comes pretty close. But otherwise, I used to laugh at Mike Myers jokes, and I still find myself amused by dumb boy jokes, and mops cover in piss. This isn’t rocket science, but it’s also Myers doing what he does (sadly) best, which is dumb jokes. But it’s all fairly genial, and the film does not outstay its welcome. If one were in a foul mood I could see the film being egregious, because Myers isn’t stretching any muscles, but I get what he’s doing, and he loves The Party, and Peter Sellers, and this is very much the more politically correct version of that, except that Blake Edwards had structure, and built his narratives, whilst Myers just assaults you with jokes, and when there’s a third act twist, the film basically points out to the audience that it knows it’s cheating, but it needed some third act excitement. Like, it flat out spells out it, but in such a way that it’s not particularly meta (like, say, the ending of Burn After Reading).

On some level, I’m happy this film didn’t do well, as I don’t think there’s a need for a sequel, and I’m happy to hear that Myers is going to be in Inglorious Bastards. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this finds its audience. It’s not a bad picture. Maybe it’s lazy. But if you like Mike Myers before, this is no worse an offense that any other comic performer who mines similar material every time out, be it Sandler or Murphy or Sellers. He has his cadence.

The Blu-Ray edition comes as a two-disc set, with the second disc proffering a digital copy. The film comes in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and in Dolby Digital 5.1 TrueHD. The transfer is immaculate, and the soundtrack is great, though this is a comedy and who gives a fuck. Extras are mostly featurettes “Mike Myers and The Love Guru – An Inside Look” (10 min.) is a fairly standard making of, “One Helluva Elephant” (6 min.) goes into the puppet work that made some of the animal appearance possible (comedy is always better served by the low tech), “Hockey Training for Actors” (9 min.) covers how Malco and Timberlake trained to ride the ice. Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan play the hockey announcers, and they get some time to riff solo in “Back in the Booth with Trent & Jerry” (5 min.), there’s also deleted scenes (14 min.) with an alternate ending, a blooper reel (4 min.) and “outtakes and more” (10 min.), so that amounts to more than thirty minutes of extra footage for those who thought the film was too short. There’s also the film’s theatrical trailer.

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