'Love Guru' a waste of comic talent

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008

Here's the good news: "The Love Guru" is better than "Semi-Pro." That is to say, there are twice as many funny moments in "Guru" as there were in "Semi-Pro"; there was exactly one such moment in "Semi-Pro."

Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures

Don't bother double-checking your math. It's correct.

The rest is bad news. "The Love Guru" is both a colossal waste of your time (if you go) and an embarrassing waste of talent.

Mike Meyers is the Guru Pitka - the Love Guru. Without spending more time than is necessary on the idiotic plot, Pitka gets hired by the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba) to fix the marriage of her star player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco). Roanoke, you see, is crumbling on the ice with his love life in shambles as his wife shacks up with the star goalie of the L.A. Kings (Justin Timberlake). Timberlake's character is named Jacques "Le Coq" Grande.

Why do they call him "Le Coq"? Because his crotch is gigantic, of course! If you are laughing at that, then there's more good news: you'll like this movie! About 60 percent of the humor in "Guru" revolves around hilarious names like Le Coq. Ben Kingsley plays Pitka's mentor, the Guru Tugginmypudha; Verne Troyer is the coach Punch Cherkov; John Oliver plays Pitka's agent, named Dick Pants. I promise there's many, many more. So if that's your bag, baby, then go with confidence.

If funny play-on-crude-sex-humor character names don't do it for you, "The Love Guru" does offer a few other things. For instance, there is... umm... oh! There's a moment when... wait, that's not all that funny, either. I guess there aren't a few other things after all.

The most remarkable thing about "The Love Guru" is its running time. Nowadays, the majority of films Hollywood pumps out are at least 20 minutes too long. How refreshing, then, that they managed to trim "Guru" down to a svelte 88 minutes and still leave you with that familiar, "that was a long movie!" feeling. Remarkable.

What I'm most disappointed with, however - more than the redundant sex names, and more than the remarkably long 88 minute running time - is the laundry list of genuinely funny talent "Guru" manages to waste. Meyers has his moments; after all, he's well rehearsed in this genre having done it before (albeit more successfully) with the "Wayne's World" and "Austin Powers" franchises. Putting him aside, everybody else might as well have stayed home. Justin Timberlake, who has proven to be a good comedy actor (seriously, watch either of the "Saturday Night Live" episodes he hosted), is mostly boring as Le Coq. Ben Kingsley is cross-eyed (and not funny). Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan, two of the funniest men on the planet, are somehow lame as the hockey television announcers. Romany Malco, who exploded onto the comedy scene with his turn in "The 40 Year Old Virgin," is rendered almost entirely boring. Verne Troyer would probably be better on some reality show drunkenly peeing in the corner -oh, wait.

Alba, on the other hand, is just as should be expected. Awful. Seeing her anti-skill again makes me morbidly curious to watch "Awake," the movie she did with her male equivalent, Hayden Christensen. I digress.

Let me save you $10. I said there were two funny moments.

1. Mike Meyers' man-head on the boy version of Pitka.

2. Pitka's greeting to his followers ("Mariska Hargitay"). The joke is well done.

Sadly, however, like everything else mildly good about "Guru," the joke is beaten to death and becomes remarkably unfunny.

• Read Carson's movie blog at www.juneaublogger.com/movies.



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