The Love Guru
|The Love Guru|
|Directed by||Marco Schnabel|
|Written by||Mike Myers|
|Produced by||Michael De Luca|
|Edited by||Billy Weber|
|Music by||George S. Clinton|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$40.9 million|
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 financially unsuccessful, grossing $40 million on a budget of $62 million, and was panned by both critics and audiences.
The Guru Pitka (Mike Myers) is tasked with revitalizing the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. The team has been plagued with losses and their star player suffers a marital tragedy that throws him off his game. In order for Pitka to become the next Deepak Chopra, he must help the team actualize their potential to win the Stanley Cup.
Guru Pitka is the self proclaimed "number-two 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-one 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 (whose name he uses as a greeting, even to Hargitay themselves). 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 Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jacques "Lè Coq" 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 and Jane bond on the plane ride. Jane became a fan of Pitka's work due to the death of her father (in real life, Mike Myers became a fan of Deepak Chopra after his father's death). Jane admits she has a crush on him and Pitka asks if she has a husband or a boyfriend, to which she says no. Pitka is surprised she is single. Jane reveals the "Bullard Curse." Canadian hockey fans dislike her very much and throw food at her when they see her.
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 Lè Coq, and hitting Coach Cherkov with a hockey puck.
Later, Pitka has dinner with Jane. Pitka tries to kiss Jane, 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 Cherkov 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.
Dick Pants warns Pitka to hurry up the process or he will lose his spot on Oprah again to Deepak Chopra. Pitka is adamant that Darren is not ready. 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 Lè Coq 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, Lè Coq, 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, Pitka 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 Lè Coq 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 television audience (which Pitka claimed would distract anybody). 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, 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".
- Mike Myers as Guru Maurice Pitka / Himself – Pitka is the 2nd top guru behind Deepak Chopra. After his parents, two dog groomers turned missionaries, died at 12, he was sent to live in a small village in India. He initially aspired to be a guru to be a lothario. His guru has him forced into a vow of celibacy until he learns self love and many other humiliating tasks, thirty three years later in present time, with a chance to finally be on The Oprah Winfrey Show, he is hired to travel to America to fix the relationship of Darren and Prudence.
- Jessica Alba as Jane Bullard, the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, an heir to her father who died. She is disliked by fans of the team, she is a big fan of Pitka's work helping her through her grief with her father. She is also attracted to him. He falls in love with her at first sight.
- Justin Timberlake as Jacques "Le Coq" Grandé, the rival goalie. He is dating Darren's wife. He is famous for being well endowed.
- Romany Malco as Darren Roanoke, when his love life in shambles, Pitka aids him in fixing his relationship.
- Meagan Good as Prudence Roanoke, Darren's wife and Jacques' lover.
- Verne Troyer as Coach Punch Cherkov, the coach of the Maple Leafs. He is short tempered and dislikes Pitka due to his cruel jokes about his dwarfism.
- Omid Djalili as Guru Satchabigknoba / Gagandeep Singh, a rival guru to Pitka. His scenes were cut from the film.
- Ben Kingsley as Guru Tugginmypudha, the quirky guru of Pitka. He is severely cross eyed due to excessive masturbation.
- Telma Hopkins as Lillian Roanoke, Darren's overbearing mother.
- Manu Narayan as Rajneesh, Pitka's assistant and closest friend.
- John Oliver as Richard "Dick" Pants, Pitka's greedy agent.
- Stephen Colbert as Jay Kell, an NHL hockey announcer and drug addict.
- Jim Gaffigan as Trent Lueders, an NHL hockey announcer.
- Rob Huebel as Bar Patron
- Daniel Tosh as Cowboy Hat
- Samantha Bee as Cinnabon cashier
- As themselves
- Mariska Hargitay
- Jessica Simpson
- Kanye West
- Val Kilmer (uncredited)
- Rob Blake
- Deepak Chopra
- Oprah Winfrey (voice)
The song "Dhadak Dhadak" from the Bollywood film of 2005, Bunty Aur Babli, was used in the trailer.
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".
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 behind Get Smart, The Incredible Hulk, and Kung Fu Panda, falling short of the $20 million range forecast by Hollywood pundits. 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. When the film was released in the United Kingdom, it ranked only #8 on the opening weekend.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave The Love Guru an approval rating of 13%, based on 177 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. 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." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 24 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B -" on scale of A to F.
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."
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." Scott also commented that the appearance of actress Mariska Hargitay was anticlimactic. An ongoing gag in the film is the use of "Mariska Hargitay" as a phony Hindi greeting.
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."
Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News wrote a highly negative review, saying The Love Guru "isn't merely a bad film, but a painful experience." He considered it one of the worst films of at least the past several years and also declared it might ruin Myers's career.
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."
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."
|Golden Raspberry Awards||February 21, 2009||Worst Picture||Gary Barber, Michael De Luca and Mike Myers||Won|
|Worst Director||Marco Schnabel||Nominated|
|Worst Actor||Mike Myers||Won|
|Worst Actress||Jessica Alba||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Ben Kingsley||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Mike Myers and Graham Gordy||Won|
|March 6, 2010||Worst Actor of the Decade||Mike Myers (also for The Cat in the Hat)||Nominated|
Portrayal of Hinduism
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. 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."
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. 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.
- The Love Guru at Box Office Mojo
- Goldwasser, Dan (2008-05-24). "George S. Clinton scores Mike Myers' The Love Guru". ScoringSessions.com. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
- The Love Guru Archived 2008-05-14 at the Wayback Machine on Beliefnet
- Disclaimer about contents of The Love Guru Fan Resource Page Archived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine from Beliefnet
- "'Smart' Moviegoers Give 'Guru' No Love". America Online. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- "Weekend box office 1st August 2008 – 3rd August 2008". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "The Love Guru (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
- "The Love Guru Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Joshua Rich (December 19, 2008). "'Get Smart' gets a box office win". Entertainment Weekly.
And with a B- CinemaScore grade from an audience that skewed slightly younger and male
- Stone, Jay (2008-06-19). "Love Guru is inoffensive to all except fans of comedy". National Post. Retrieved 2008-06-20.[permanent dead link]
- A. O. Scott (2008-06-20). "Just Say 'Mariska Hargitay' and Snicker". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- Ebert, Roger (2008). The Love Guru, retrieved 30 June 2014
- 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.
- Mick LaSalle (2008-06-20). "Mike Myers as 'The Love Guru'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Sam Smith/Dr. Evil Cold Open - Saturday Night Live". YouTube.
- Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON Minister of Communications. "ISKCON North America's Official Statement on The Love Guru". www.dandavats.com. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Sandy Cohen, Associated Press, "Myers' Latest Spoof Hits 'Ohm'," Entertainment, The Seattle Times, March 28, 2008, accessed January 6, 2012.
- "HAF Critical of Paramount Picture Refusal for Pre-Screening of 'The Love Guru'", Hindu American Foundation, accessed May 8, 2011.
- "'The Love Guru' is Vulgar but not Hinduphobic, Say Hindus Attending Special Preview" , Hindu American Foundation, June 20, 2008, accessed May 8, 2011.