Aug 08

I Am Curiously Humourless Orange

FT4 comments • 295 views

I am not convinced The Love Guru is fundamentally any worse than any of the Austin Powers films. At least Myers only plays one character in it (two if you count a brief cameo as himself). But the difference is that while Austin Powers was a silly spoof of Bond and the literal swinging sixties the subject matter gave it architecture: it followed a spy film plot (albeit a silly one). The Love Guru is a parody of self help gurus – This is an easy target (which he does kind of miss even so), but the big problem is there are not really any guru/self help films to parody. This means Myers ends up plugging the saffron robed character into a rather dull sports movie. The Love Guru has very little forward momentum, which means it gets stuck on its bad jokes, lots of them, and you never really care what happens. (The film is even lazier than that, with cursory scrutiny you notice that the lead characters emotional arc of The Love Guru is almost identical to that in Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery – just replace a chastity belt for Powers missing Mojo.)

Put it like this. No matter how silly they were, you still wanted to make sure that someone called Dr Evil did not take over the world. You walk out of The Love Guru not caring if Guru Pitka gets on Oprah, supplants Deepak Chopra as the number one self help guru or even if the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. The films toothlessness is illustrated by Deepak Chopra making an appearance himself – not so much as self parody, but more in a clueless way of not being sure the film even bothers him. Actually you might walk out of The Love Guru considerably earlier than that, and I wouldn’t really blame you.

(Poor old Omid Djalili appears to have been completely excised from the final cut of the film too despite being in the cast list. This is probably just as well for him, though if I were him I would have asked them to take my name of the credits too!)


  1. 1
    a logged-out pˆnk s lord whatnot on 7 Aug 2008 #

    the things i like about the austin powers movies are:

    1: the relationship between dr evil, his son and his staff — the sociology of supervillainy-qua-institution is a funny and interesting territory (plus dr evil is a great character)

    2: AP’s melancholy bafflement at the vanishing of 60s mores

    both of these are “what if action movies were real life?” ideas, but i think they’re kind of rich and interesting ideas even when they’re just gags

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 7 Aug 2008 #

    Both of these aspects are missing from The Love Guru (or as the Russians would have it THE SEX GURU – hooray for phonetically spellings).

    Potentially interesting threads about The Love Guru completely missed by the film:
    a) The difference between Love and Sex
    b) Retreats, followers etc as extended non-traditional families.
    c) How can you represent any kind of authority when your technique is all hippy claptrap you made up yourself.

    It does however manage to completely destroy the Ghandi movie, as Ben Kingsley redoes the accent for “laughs”: cross-eyed and farting. So for that we can be a touch grateful.

    I think AP is a good character because of the melancholy, and Myers tries to repeat some of that action here via reusing the character arc. But Guru Pitka is never sympathetic, and is always baffled. Powers as a man out of time but in a plot was always watchable.

  3. 3
    Andrew Farrell on 7 Aug 2008 #

    The impression I got from the trailer was that he was never convincingly baffled, that he’d pushed it so far that it was always Mike Myers under a very thin mask.

    Nice to see Kayne West turn up – possibly he thinks that he owes Myers a favour after the George Bush think (if so he is WRONG).

    Another guru film: the terrible Holy Man with Eddie Murphy. Might the real culprit here be some merging of Peter Sellers in The Party and, er, Peter Sellers in Being There?

  4. 4
    Pete Baran on 7 Aug 2008 #

    You know what, I think yr doubling of Peter Sellers at the end there probably explains this entire project (what with the Austin Powers phenom being closer to Clouseau than any other comic idea I could think of). In the end the Love Guru does end up being Wayne with different silly hair, but whose gormlessness loses the remarkable inherent sympathy that previously has been the (unconscious) secret of Myers schtick.

    The Kanye West cameo is a one second reminder of the Katrina bit, and as such retains West’s and REAL MYERS credibility.

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