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The Love Guru

(2008) * 1/2 Pg-13
88 min. Paramount Pictures. Director: Marco Schnabel. Cast: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer, Ben Kingsley, Meagan Good.


Hello, police? I'd like to report a mugging. Oh, it was horrible, horrible! Yes, I'm safe now. The mugging took place in a movie theatre, but I fear the mugger will strike again! I close my eyes and I can still see his terrible face grinning... eye-popping... contorting... mugging! Oh yes, I'd recognize him anywhere, despite his assortment of wigs and noses. Why, his mug is on buses and billboards all over town. I'm sure you're aware of this repeat offender. His name is Mike Myers, alias The Love Guru. And I'd like to cooperate in any way possible to make sure this kind of mugging never happens again.

There he was, talking directly to me in a rambling speech about how he was "the Guru Pitka"—a Canadian raised in Harenmahkeester, India—and he was going to tell me the whole story of what he called "my most resistant student, who became my greatest teacher! Or some such bullshit. I don't know." What do you call it when someone's mood swings high and low? Manic depression? Bipolar disorder? Are you getting this down, officer? Anyway, it was scary. He seemed so invested in this character and this new movie of his, so much so that only twice did he break character and acknowledge he was Mike Myers. I guess the character was kind of funny, but not when you're being attacked, you know what I mean?

He was definitely all up in his head about it. This student he referred to is Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco), a hockey player for Myers' beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. And "the Guru Pitka" kept talking about how he wanted to be, by way of Oprah, "the next Deepak Chopra." (Chopra's a poor-weather friend of Myers, and he even walked past the mugging with that blissed-out smile of his--you might want to bring him in for questioning.) Some other people were there: Jessica Alba, who claimed she was the owner of the Leafs; Myers' Austin Powers co-star Verne Troyer, claiming to be Coach Cherkov; a severely cross-eyed Ben Kingsley, claiming to be Pitka's Guru Tugginmypudha; and Justin Timberlake (who was also in a wiggy disguise with a moustache), claiming to be the L.A. Kings' Jacques "Le Coq" Grande and talking big about having a giant-sized "weiner." Oh, and Jim Gaffigan was there, pretending to be a sports anchor with Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, and John Oliver of The Daily Show was calling himself "Dick Pants."

I could see where, even if there wasn't mugging going on, someone's sensibilities would be offended, particularly someone from India. Myers had with him a token Indian sidekick named Rajneesh (alias Manu Narayan), but that didn't stop Myers from incessantly playing American pop songs on the sitar, breaking into Bollywood numbers, and generally mocking Indian culture and Hindu spirituality. Having Rajneesh around only seemed to enbolden him. He would make some lame joke, then scream, "You are laughing!" at this Roanoke guy. But I wasn't laughing. These would have been good times to make a break for it, but I didn't. As I mentioned, I was sort of stunned the whole time. I haven't mentioned the worst part. He wouldn't stop whipping out his dick and balls—wait, let me finish officer—his dick and balls jokes. Elaborate ones that just wouldn't quit. I had the sinking feeling I'd been through all this before.

I probably shouldn't mention this, because you won't take me seriously, but I did smile a couple of times, when this self-help persona Myers was in would make jokes about the self-help industry and the kind of guy who would build a VIP room into his ashram. I mean the people around "the Guru Pitka" kept calling him an "ass" and an "idiot," and he wore a shit-eating grin through it all, just eating it up. And he was full of one-liners about "intimacy" really meaning "Into-Me-I-See" and going "from 'nowhere' to 'now here,'" and self-help book titles like "I Know You Are, But What Am I?" and "Does It Hurt When You Do That? Don't Do That." Plus non-stop acronym humor, including a plan to cure Roanoke with "DRAMA": Distraction, Regression, Adjustment, Maturity, and Action. I'm pretty sure Aristotle would have his head over the whole thing, but never mind.

/content/films/3115/20.jpgBasically, it was really weird experiencing this completely unrestrained mugging by a guy so clearly, encyclopedically obsessed with bodily functions of every kind factual and fantastical. Scary-weird. And truthfully not very funny, though some jerks sat around and watched and laughed while the mugging took place. The only thing that gives me a sort of strange comfort is that when his crime doesn't pay, he won't be emotionally destroyed by it. Because he's learned from his buddy Deepak lessons like "Self-love is more important than being loved by others," and in meeting with failure, he can say, "I'll still be a hero to myself," I'm pretty sure Myers won't have a breakdown when The Love Guru opens disappointingly.  But he got away with my 88 minutes, and it's only a matter of time before he's reaching into people's wallets again.

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