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Cinema: Only If You Dig Myers

28 Aug

Hurrah! This bad comedy is over!

Hurrah! This bad comedy is over!


Directed by Marco Schnabel
Starring Mike Myers, Ben Kingsley, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Omid Djalili

Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypuddha in The Love Guru.
Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypuddha in The Love Guru.

THE biggest joke in this movie is not that Mike Myers makes fun of the New Age self-help field but that Ben Kingsley stars as his crossed-eye Guru Tugginmypuddha who encourages his ashram students in India to fight using urine-soaked mops!

Kingsley, of course, is well-known for his Academy Award-winning performance as India’s greatest spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 movie.

I thought playing Gandhi and spoofing a spiritual teacher borders on being insulting. Maybe that’s because I have always revered Kingsley in Gandhi. But elsewhere, people seem to accept Myers’s brand of crude comedy.

The movie has Val Kilmer and Jessica Simpson attending one of the Guru’s talks. Even Deepak Chopra makes an appearance as himself.
Morgan Freeman lends his voice on the voice-over machine and Canadian ice hockey player Rob Blake appears as himself.

Mariska Hargitay (who plays Olivia Benson in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) has her name turned into a greeting.

In less than two hours, the movie packs jokes that are mostly crass, vulgar and are, in most parts, about private parts.

The humour doesn’t deviate from that of Austin Powers, in which Myers also starred in, making his latest outing just like watching the groovy secret agent in a different uniform and location. The jokes are the same.

Vulgar jokes aside, Myers antics are at times rib-tickling. I love the mobile cushion that Pitka (Myers) moves on, with a control on its side and a reverse parking alarm. It’s absolutely silly and it’s hilarious.

In The Love Guru, Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), who owns the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, hires Pitka to help her star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) get back his wife Prudence (Megan Good) and his concentration in the game.

Prudence is now dating L.A King’s legendary goalie, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake).

There is even a Bollywood dance routine between Myers and Alba and while we may not find it very funny, having been exposed to Bollywood films that seem to have endless dancing, the Western market might just find the dancing routine new.

The two even sing in Hindi with English subtitles crawling on the screen.

Myers, like Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy, may have fallen into that deep comedy trap of creating and re-creating films of the same flavour, hoping for an audience who would watch them once.

I guess one watch is fine, if you have time to burn and if you have had a very bad day and desperately need a laugh. The jokes won’t be so funny the second time around.

New Straits Times