In his first live action film in six years, Mike Myers parodies the life of a Hollywood spiritual healer. But maybe he should've stuck to doing another round of voice-overs for an ogre. If you're in the mood for penis jokes and elephant erotica, though, then "The Love Guru" is the movie for you.
Myers is Guru Pitka, the "second most popular neo-Eastern self-help specialist" after Deepak Chopra. To raise his profile, he is called upon to repair the marriage between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco of "Weeds") and his wife, who starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques "Le Coq" Grande (Justin Timberlake) after the split. The separation negatively affects Roanoke's performance, so the owner of the team (Jessica Alba) seeks Pitka out to help Darren get it together in time for the Stanley Cup.
But the flimsy plot is secondary to scene after scene of gags of the mostly scatological variety, some of which work and many of which don't. At 48, Myers, who co-wrote the film with Graham Gordy, isn't getting any younger and perhaps should leave the screwier of screwball comedy writing to someone else.
There is an almost excessive amount of fun with acronyms and other word play. For instance, Pitka's particular strength is Intimacy, or "Into-Me-I-See."
Still, there are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in the film, including the repeated sacred greeting of "Mariska Hargitay" (yes, the "Law & Order: SVU" star) and a fantasy romantic Bollywood sequence between Myers and Alba.
Most of the supporting roles aren't given enough material to outshine Myers, but there are a few high notes. Ben Kingsley is far from his Gandhi days as Pitka's memorable mentor, a severely cross-eyed Guru Tugginmypudha (read it again, hardy har har). Stephen Colbert's drug addicted sports broadcaster is deserving of more airtime. Superstar cameos are plentiful and mostly enjoyable.
Scenes between Verne Troyer, who plays the team's coach, and Myers conjure up Austin Powers-era nostalgia, but beyond playing on every conceivable dwarf joke, their relationship lacks its previous chemistry. Timberlake's French Canadian accent is so bad that it becomes part of the joke, but fans of the singer will be pleased with his Celine Dion impression. And Alba's vapid performance still generates enough screen time for eye candy. (I have to admit, the girl looks good in a sari.)
Some members of the Hindu community have raised concerns about the portrayal of the faith in the film. They need not worry. The movie pokes fun at the mundane wisdom dispensed by pop-gurus taught in India, yes, but deeper examination is absent.
"The Love Guru" is about what you'd expect from one of the original present-day masters of lowbrow humor. But if you want to avoid financially contributing to a sequel that will undoubtedly feature another 99 minutes of stating the obvious, rent "The Spy Who Shagged Me" instead.