The Love Guru

The Love Guru (2008)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Verne Troyer, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Outtakes, Trailer

It's been rather quiet around Mike Myers for some time with the last Austin Powers movie already being 6 years old and Shrek not accounting for much in my book. As such I was glad to see him in a new movie when the Blu-Ray version of "The Love Guru" showed up on my doorstep.

Guru Pitka (Mike Myers) is an American-raised Indian guru who teaches people to love themselves. One day he is approached by Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), the owner of an ice hockey team, with a request for help. Since the team's hottest player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) had been separated from his wife, he was plagued by self-confidence issues and misses practically every shot. Bullard hopes that Guru Pitka's teachings could bring the two back together and thus help get Roanoke back to his old form, helping the team to win the coveted Stanley Cup.

Well, how do I say this… I should have become hesitant when I saw the reviewer quotes from some completely unknown reviewers on the packaging. It is usually an indication that the film is no good because none of the well-known writers had anything quotable to say about a film.

"The Love Guru" is a mish-mash that combines the ridiculousness of Scientology with the mystery of the Beatles guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who had quite an influence during the 70s. At the same time the film takes the same route of the Austin Powers movies, trying constantly use sexual innuendos and references for laughs. Sadly however, in this film they barely work. The jokes feel stretched and forced like a Saturday Night Live skit that doesn't really work. The fact that most of these funnies have been exploited in one way or another in the Austin Powers series doesn't help things either because you can laugh about big penis jokes and sexual wordplays only so many times – at least when you're my age.

On the good side however, the film has a decent cast that serves the movie perfectly. Verne Troyer returns to great effect and Jessica Alba has a wonderful radiance. She may not be a great actress but she sure makes the film look pretty and gives it a certain flair that carries the movie very well. Justin Timberlake give acting another shot – his incantation of a Celine Dion song is actually worth seeing – and it is great to see Ben Kingsley in one of his rare comedic parts. I also found it notable that there were cameo appearances in the film of all the people you do not want to see in a movie, like Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Rob Blake to name just a few. And yet, these "Oh my god" cameos once again add to the atmosphere of the film as a whole quite well, mocking the entertainment industry glitz.

Coming in a 1080p high definition transfer, as expected the image is simply wonderful. Razor sharp and with rich colors and hues, the picture is pure eye-candy, especially since many of the backdrops are over-the-top shagadelic and feature powerful colors. The level of detail is impressive and makes sure you get the best out of your high definition setup. With solid black levels and good shadow detail, the image always has good visual depth.

The Blu-Ray disc comes with a Dolby Digital TrueHD audio track that is equally impressive as it uses surround channels to great effect. With great clarity, the audio has kind of a sparkling quality that once again complements the film's atmosphere perfectly.

The release contains a number of bonus materials, such as a selection of deleted and extended scenes and a blooper reel. A series of short featurettes also add to the release, covering various aspects of the production. Whether you want to learn more about Mike Myer's approach to the character, challenges on the set or hockey lessons for actors, it is all covered here in easily digestable pieces.
I was very pleased to see that all of the bonus materials on the release are presented in high definition here, really taking full advantage of the Blu-Ray format.

In addition to the Blu-Ray disc, the packaging also contains a DVD that features a digital copy of the movie. Digital copies are becoming increasingly more popular and common, allowing you to load a copy of the film onto a mobile device or even your PC to view the film.

On a different note I have to point out that I found the film's PG-13 rating a little questionable. It is one of those films that show how inadequate the MPAA rating system is because there is nothing between an R-rating and a PG-13 rating. This film would fall squarely somewhere in between. I think it is unsuitable as a PG-13 film because it is verbally very explicit, but it does not quite require an R-rating in my opinion.

"The Love Guru" did not live up to my expectations, unfortunately. While I was debating with myself whether I should turn the film off a few times, I also decided to keep watching. To me that's an indication that the film isn't all that bad and has at least some redeeming values. It's clearly not a film I will rewatch but for a one-time session of fun, you may want to rent this film some time.