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The Love Guru Blu-ray Review (Digital Copy Special Edition)

The Love Guru movie poster The Love Guru

Theatrical Release: June 20, 2008 / Running Time: 86 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Marco Schnabel / Writers: Mike Myers, Graham Gordy

Cast: Mike Myers (Himself/Guru Pitka/Young Pitka/Teenage Pitka), Jessica Alba (Jane Bullard), Justin Timberlake (Jacques Grande), Romany Malco (Darren Roanoke), Meagan Good (Prudence Roanoke), Verne Troyer (Coach Punch Cherkov), Ben Kingsley (Guru Tugginmypudha), Omid Djalili (Guru Satchabigknoba), Telma Hopkins (Lillian Roanoke), John Oliver (Dick Pants), Jessica Simpson (Herself), Kanye West (Himself), Deepak Chopra (Himself), Rob Blake (Himself), Manu Narayan (Rajneesh), Stephen Colbert (Jay Kell), Jim Gaffigan (Trent Lueders), Mariska Hargitay (Herself - uncredited), Val Kilmer (Himself - uncredited)

Buy The Love Guru from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Single-Disc DVD Digital Copy Special Edition DVD


By Aaron Wallace

Mike Myers came up with the idea for The Love Guru at the same time that he developed Austin Powers. Indeed, the titular Guru Pitka resembles Powers in his inanity and flair for innuendo, a similarity that the marketing made a point of emphasizing.
The idea is that Guru Pitka would soon join Wayne Campbell, Shrek, and the International Man of Mystery himself in the uppermost echelon of Myers' repertoire. As it turns out, he should have gone with Austin Powers 4 instead.

Guru Pitka is a self-help star who dreams of one day appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show". He sees a chance for that to happen when his services are enlisted by Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba), the owner of a professional hockey team whose key player, Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco), is struggling with an unfaithful wife (Meagan Good) who has left him for rival star Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake). Pitka takes an even greater interest in Bullard herself, who he hopes can help him unlock the chastity belt that was imposed upon him at a young age by his mentor, Guru Tugginmypudha (Ben Kingsley).

Such a ridiculous premise hopefully means that you don't need to read any further to know that this movie is awful. But just in case you do -- this movie is awful. Broad humor, dirty jokes, bad acting, and unwarrantedly heavy accents are the order of the day. Add to that a barely-there story and an unyielding obsession with the penis and it's tough to find any appeal.

Mike Myers takes the extreme step of creating a new character, Guru Pitka, in the comedy flop "The Love Guru." John Oliver, Jessica Alba, Mike Myers, and Omid Djalili crouch down for Coach Punch Cherkov (Verne Troyer) and one of the more visual of the unfunny short jokes.

Sure, I laughed. I couldn't tell you what they were now, but a small handful of moments coaxed a light chuckle out of me. But far more often, I was taken aback -- taken aback by the willingness to hump an elephant without apology, by character names like "Le Coq" and "Cherkov", and by the fact that such a plebeian script somehow attracted an A-list cast. Certainly, this represents a career low for Ben Kingsley. Even Justin Timberlake has kept himself in more respectable roles.

The Love Guru subscribes to the belief that even the most baseline humor will find an audience with the world's most unsophisticated moviegoers (or, as the case might be here, young teens finding their first trip to a PG-13 flick). Turns out that Mike Myers, first-time director Marco Schnabel, and the folks at Paramount undervalued the public -- the movie lost money in the tens of millions, with a worldwide gross under $40 million.

Paramount recently released The Love Guru both in single-disc and double-disc DVD editions and in a double-disc Digital Copy Special Edition Blu-ray. The latter is the subject of this review.

Buy The Love Guru: Digital Copy Special Edition Blu-ray Disc from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English),
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Video Extras Subtitled
Release Date: September 16, 2008
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50) plus Digital Copy (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Slim-line Blue Keepcase
Also available on 1-Disc DVD and in Digital Copy Special Edition DVD

VIDEO and AUDIO

Blu-ray Disc presents The Love Guru in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and in 1080p High Definition. The picture is absolutely stunning. This is a colorful movie and every bit shines with glory.
Coastal scenes turn your HDTV into a window to paradise. If there's one reason to own this movie -- and there really is just this one reason -- it's to show off your hi-def display.

Unfortunately, you won't be showing off your sound system. The Blu-ray presents a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround soundtrack. The audio is crisp and clear but confined almost entirely to the front channels. When the rear speakers kick in, they do so with real oomph, but it happens so infrequently that it's startling. A new production presented with a hi-def track on the Blu-ray format should have more to offer.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

The bonus features begin with "Mike Myers and The Love Guru: An Inside Look" (9:35) (HD), a standard making-of featurette in which cast and crew give fluff interviews about the movie. I won't say you shouldn't watch it, but it's hard to listen to praise for something so undeserving of it.

"One Hellava Elephant" (5:44) (HD) takes a brief look at the effects employed to create the elephant that Guru Pitka rides around on and makes a crass spectacle of. An ostrich is featured too.

"Hockey Training for Actors" (8:03) (HD) is another featurette that fails to go very far below the surface, this one taking a glossy glance at the difficulty of filming ice hockey and teaching actors to play. As with the "Inside Look", there's a disproportionate amount of Justin Timber-lauding going on here.

Under "Deleted and Extended Scenes" (HD), a pop-up menu holds ten deleted scenes and one alternate ending. Only one is worth your time -- "Bill Ford with Very Special Guests", in which Mike Myers appears as himself alongside Kanye West, a nod to the rapper's infamous meltdown in a joint post-Hurricane Katrina appearance with Myers. The other scenes are pitiful drivel, emphasizing the juvenile quality of the movie's comedy with one lowbrow swipe after another. The alternate ending isn't much of an ending and is no better than the other content here. Altogether, the eleven scenes run 13:46.

"Bloopers" (3:48) (HD) is a reel of footage that contains more goofing by the cast than actual mess-ups. Not a second of it is funny.

"Back in the Booth with Trent and Jay" (5:08) (HD) spends more time with Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan in their supporting roles as sportscasters Jay and Trent, respectively. I got one chuckle out of this montage of scripted segments -- hardly worth it.

"Outtakes & More" (10:14) (HD) might sound unnecessary after deleted scenes and bloopers... and they are. This is a reel of little moments that were excerpted from the final cut but not lengthy enough to constitute a "scene." Again, I got one chuckle here and again, it wasn't worth it.

Finally, the film's theatrical trailer (2:31) (HD) is included. While it reminds me why I chose not to see it in theaters, having trailers in hi-def is pretty cool.

The second disc is a DVD that contains only a digital copy of the movie. The most worthless disc ever printed, this will allow people to make themselves miserable on the go by uploading The Love Guru on their iPod. This and all the other bonuses are on the Digital Copy Special Edition DVD as well (though obviously not in HD).

The plain main menu screen presents a stagnant collage of the central cast while recognizable score from the movie plays. All sub-menus operate within the main menu screen itself and all but the bonus features are accessible during playback without having to leave the movie itself.

The Blu-ray and DVD discs are housed inside a slim-line, transparent blue keepcase. The solid silver discs keep with Paramount's typically bland labeling. Inside the case is a single insert explaining the digital copy process. The packaging's front cover art slaps an unnecessary and unattractive yellow-orange "Digital Copy Special Edition" banner across the top.

Guru Pitka provides counsel to Toronto Maple Leafs Star Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco). Get it? A black hockey player! Yuk, yuk. Prudence Roanoke (Meagan Good) and Jacques Grande (Justin Timberlake) play house with innuendo and French Canadian stereotypes.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Love Guru is one of 2008's worst movies. Crass, immature, and moderately funny on only a couple of occasions, there's no reason you should spend time or money to see it. Paramount's Blu-ray release delivers stellar high definition video but a boring Dolby TrueHD surround sound track and a light slate of pedestrian supplements. You don't have to seek out Guru Pitka for self-help -- staying clear of this movie is all you need.

More on the Blu-ray / Buy The Love Guru from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / DVD + Digital Copy

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The Cast of The Love Guru:
Mike Myers: Shrek the Third | Jessica Alba: Fantastic Four Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Sin City
Romany Malco: Blades of Glory | Stephen Colbert: The Best of The Colbert Report | Ben Kingsley: The Dictator

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Reviewed October 15, 2008.



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