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The Love Guru is a 2008 American romantic comedy film directed by Marco Schnabel in his directorial debut, written and produced by Mike Myers, and starring Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Verne Troyer, John Oliver, Omid Djalili, and Ben Kingsley. The film was also Myers and Timberlake's second collaboration after Shrek the Third (2007).

The Love Guru
Love guru.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Marco Schnabel
Produced by Gary Barber
Michael De Luca
Mike Myers
Written by Mike Myers
Graham Gordy
Starring Mike Myers
Jessica Alba
Justin Timberlake
Romany Malco
Meagan Good
Verne Troyer
John Oliver
Omid Djalili
Ben Kingsley
Daniel Tosh
Music by George S. Clinton
Malcolm Kirby Jr.
Cinematography Peter Deming
Edited by Billy Weber
Lee Haxall
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • June 20, 2008 (2008-06-20)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $62 million[1]
Box office $40.9 million[1]

The film was a financial flop and earned overwhelmingly negative reviews.

Contents

PlotEdit

Guru Pitka is the #2 Guru in the world, after Deepak Chopra. A flashback shows that Pitka was an orphan, taught by Guru Tugginmypudha. When the twelve year old Pitka announces he wants to become a Guru so that girls will love him, Tugginmypudha puts a chastity belt on him until he can learn that loving himself is more important than being loved by others.

Pitka's dream is to become the number #1 Guru and appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He lives a charmed life with thousands of followers, including the celebrities Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer and Mariska Hargitay. His teachings, which involve simplistic acronyms and plays on words, are displayed in PowerPoint slide shows.

In Canada, Jane Bullard inherits the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, who are on a losing streak; her star player, Darren Roanoke, has been playing badly ever since his wife Prudence left him for the rival Los Angeles Kings player, Jacques "Lè Cocq" Grandé. Jane is a big fan of Pitka's, and offers to pay him $2 million to patch up Darren's marriage, so the team can win the Stanley Cup. Pitka's agent tells him that if he succeeds, Oprah will have him on her show.

Pitka encourages the rival team to beat Darren up during a game, to distract him from his distress over his wife’s affair. Darren begins to play well but then gets suspended for the next two games after beating up Le Cocq, and hitting Coach Cherkov with a hockey puck.

Later, Pitka has dinner with Jane. He tries to kiss her, only to hear a ding on his chastity belt. Upset when he tells her their love cannot be, she runs out. Pitka advises Darren to write an apology to Prudence, and fights off a rooster to deliver the letter. After they lose three games, Coach Cherkoff berates Jane and punches Pitka in the groin. He is only slightly injured from hitting the chastity belt but Pitka moans and drops to the ground.

Pitka and Darren attempt a confrontation, but her invective ends up scaring both of them away. Pitka helps Darren realise that since his mother only showed him love when he succeeded he had grown to believe Prudence would only love him as long as he won. Pitka then drives himself and Darren to Niagara Falls for a "Heart to Heart".

With time running out, Pitka distracts Le Cocq with his idol, Celine Dion, then tells Prudence that Darren stood up to his mom, encouraging her to return to her husband. During the lead up to the final game, Le Cocq, having heard that Darren cannot play with his mother in the audience, gets her to sing the national anthem, causing Darren to flee. At the airport on his way to guest on Oprah, Pritka sees the news on television and defies his agent by going back to help Darren. After smoothing things over with his mother, Darren recovers until Le Cocq brags that Prudence prefers him in bed. Darren freezes and Pitka realizes he needs another distraction, which he provides by getting two elephants to have sex in the middle of the rink, in front of the live TV audience. Darren wakes up from his stupor and scores the winning goal. After the game, Pitka makes up with Jane and Coach Cherkov, then meets Deepak Chopra and decides that he is fine with being the first Guru Pitka instead of the next Deepak Chopra.

Back in India, Guru Tugginmypudha tells Pitka that he has finally learned to love himself and removes Pitka's chastity belt, revealing there was a hook in the back. The film ends with Jane and Pitka dancing together in a Bollywood style number to a rendition of "The Joker".

CastEdit

As themselves

MusicEdit

The original score for the film was composed by George S. Clinton, who recorded it with an 80-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at Warner Bros.[2]

The song "Dhadak Dhadak" from the 2005 Bollywood film Bunty Aur Babli was used in the trailer.

The songs "9 to 5", "More Than Words", and "The Joker" are all in the film (performed by Myers and with sitar accompaniment) and on the soundtrack. "Brimful of Asha" was also used in the film.

PromotionEdit

Myers appeared in the seventh-season finale of American Idol as Pitka, the "spiritual director" of that show. The finalists David Cook and David Archuleta got to visit the Paramount Pictures studio theatre to see The Love Guru a month prior to its release and then got to meet Myers dressed like Pitka and playing Sitar Hero.

A "Fan Resource Page" at Fox Entertainment's beliefnet.com website[3] was "created as part of a collaboration between Beliefnet and Paramount Pictures."[4]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

The film did poorly at the box office. In its opening weekend, The Love Guru grossed $13.9 million in 3,012 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #4 at the box office,[1] falling short of the $20 million range forecast by Hollywood pundits.[5] The film grossed $32.2 million in the United States and Canada and an additional $8.7 million overseas, for a total of $40.8 million worldwide, against its $62 million budget.[1] When the film was released in the United Kingdom, it ranked only #8 on the opening weekend.[6]

Critical responseEdit

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 13%, based on 173 reviews, with an average rating of 3.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Love Guru features far too many gross-out gags, and too few earned laughs, ranking as one of Mike Myers' poorest outings."[7] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 24 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[8]

Jay Stone of the National Post gave the film one star and said the film "is shockingly crass, sloppy, repetitive and thin." Stone said "Chopra is used almost as a product placement, taking a proud spot alongside a circus, a brand of cinnamon buns, the Leafs and, of course, Mike Myers." Stone also wrote, "the sitar-based versions of pop songs like '9 to 5' are oddly watchable - but mostly the film is 88 minutes of ridiculous sight gags and obscene puns."[9]

A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote "The word 'unfunny' surely applies to Mr. Myers's obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, The Love Guru is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again."[10] Scott also commented that the appearance of actress Mariska Hargitay was anti-climactic. An ongoing gag in the film is the use of "Mariska Hargitay" as a phony Hindi greeting.[10]

Roger Ebert gave the film 1 out of 4 stars, writing, "Myers has made some funny movies, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents. Every reference to a human sex organ or process of defecation is not automatically funny simply because it is naughty, but Myers seems to labor under that delusion."[11]

Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News was disgusted with the film, considering it one of the worst films of at least the past several years and going so far as to declare it a career-killing film for Myers.[12]

Mick LaSalle of San Francisco Chronicle was one of the few major critics who did not write the film off completely, stating "Mike Myers' new comedy, "The Love Guru," is a disappointment, but it's not a disaster, and that's at least something."[13]

Myers had a small supporting role in the well-received film Inglorious Basterds in 2009 and did voice work as Shrek in 2010's Shrek Forever After, but he has not had an on-camera starring role in a film since The Love Guru.

Myers later poked fun at the film's failure in an appearance on the December 20, 2014 episode of Saturday Night Live, where he appeared as Dr. Evil (a character from his far more successful Austin Powers series), giving advice to Sony Pictures on its cancellation of the release of The Interview: "if you really want to put a bomb in a theater, do what I did: put in The Love Guru."[14]

Razzie AwardsEdit

Nominee Category Result
Gary Barber
Michael De Luca
Mike Myers
Worst Picture Won
Mike Myers Worst Actor Won
Jessica Alba Worst Actress Nominated
Ben Kingsley Worst Supporting Actor Nominated
Verne Troyer Nominated
Mike Myers
Graham Gordy
Worst Screenplay Won
Marco Schnabel Worst Director Nominated
Mike Myers Worst Actor of the Decade (along with The Cat in the Hat) Nominated

Portrayal of HinduismEdit

Before the film's release, some Hindus expressed unhappiness about how Hindus are portrayed, the disrespect of their culture and the bad impression that it would give those not well exposed to Hinduism, while some gave a cautious welcome, asking other Hindus to look at it as satire and not the truth.[15] Rajan Zed, a Hindu leader from Nevada, demanded that Paramount Pictures screen the film for members of the Hindu community before its release.

Based on the movie's trailer and MySpace page, Zed said The Love Guru "appears to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus" and uses sacred terms frivolously. He told The Associated Press, "People are not very well-versed in Hinduism, so this might be their only exposure...They will have an image in their minds of stereotypes. They will think most of us are like that."[16]

Paramount Pictures agreed to provide the Hindu American Foundation an opportunity to pre-screen the film as soon as it had a complete work print of the film, but did not do this.[17] Instead, it requested the Foundation attend a Minneapolis pre-screening the night before the film's release. HAF agreed to view the film to be able to inform the American Hindu community in light of concerned inquiries that were reported to its national headquarters. The reviewers concluded that the film was vulgar and crude but not necessarily anti-Hindu.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d The Love Guru at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (2008-05-24). "George S. Clinton scores Mike Myers' The Love Guru". ScoringSessions.com. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  3. ^ The Love Guru on Beliefnet
  4. ^ Disclaimer about contents of The Love Guru Fan Resource Page from Beliefnet
  5. ^ "'Smart' Moviegoers Give 'Guru' No Love". America Online. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  6. ^ "Weekend box office 1st August 2008 – 3rd August 2008". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Love Guru (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 14, 2018. 
  8. ^ "The Love Guru Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  9. ^ Stone, Jay (2008-06-19). "Love Guru is inoffensive to all except fans of comedy". National Post. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  10. ^ a b A. O. Scott (2008-06-20). "Just Say 'Mariska Hargitay' and Snicker". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  11. ^ Ebert, Roger (2008). The Love Guru, retrieved 30 June 2014
  12. ^ Harry Knowles (2008-06-19). "Harry says, 'If Shit Got THE LOVE GURU On It, Shit Would Wipe It Off!'". Aintitcoolnews.com. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  13. ^ Mick LaSalle (2008-06-20). "Mike Myers as 'The Love Guru'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBoPm_ZJPDc
  15. ^ Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON Minister of Communications. "ISKCON North America's Official Statement on The Love Guru". www.dandavats.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  16. ^ Sandy Cohen, Associated Press, "Myers' Latest Spoof Hits 'Ohm'," Entertainment, Seattle Times, March 28, 2008, accessed January 6, 2012.
  17. ^ "HAF Critical of Paramount Picture Refusal for Pre-Screening of 'The Love Guru'", Hindu American Foundation, accessed May 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "'The Love Guru' is Vulgar but not Hinduphobic, Say Hindus Attending Special Preview", Hindu American Foundation, June 20, 2008, accessed May 8, 2011.

External linksEdit