Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So I Married The Love Guru

Mike Myers' new movie, The Love Guru, is not doing well at the box office.

Well before it came out, Hindu leaders were calling for a boycott, saying that it was offensive to their faith. I'm fine with their choosing to express their displeasure in that way; it's certainly better than the traditional Muslim methods of media criticism (car bombs and decapitations).

Now that The Love Guru is, shall we say, underperforming, some Hindu leaders are suggesting that the boycott was a significant factor.

Yeah, right. And their refusal to eat cows has Burger King on the verge of bankruptcy.

(Handy tip: when the people of your nation are starving, but cows are allowed to wander freely through the streets, snarling traffic and pooping all over the place, there's an easy way to solve a couple of problems at once.)

I think it's far more likely that the movie isn't doing well for a much simpler reason: it isn't very funny. I haven't seen it, so I can't personally attest to that. However, I've read and heard a fair amount about it, and it doesn't sound even remotely amusing to me. It looks like a litany of silly accents, bad puns, and bodily function humour.

The critics at Rotten Tomatoes certainly don't like it - it has a 15% rating at the moment. Here's my favourite quote from one of the reviews, by Matt Brunson: "A splinter in the eyeball would be less painful than sitting through this debacle."

Mike Myers is a talented comedian who has succumbed to wanting to be liked by the mainstream. He's taken on projects ranging from mediocre (the Austin Powers series) to terrible (The Cat In The Hat, and apparently The Love Guru) over the last several years.

He was terrific on Saturday Night Live, and started strong in the movies when his SNL tenure wrapped up. The Wayne's World movies were both at least passable (the first was far better than the second), but Myers' true masterpiece was So I Married An Axe Murderer. That was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Office Space and South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut are its only other serious competition that I can remember just now (I'm sure I'll think of others as soon as I post this).

Unfortunately, SIMAAM (sorry, but I'm not typing that title over and over) bombed too. Myers reportedly went into a depression, thinking his career was over, in its aftermath.

Oddly, Tim Burton went through a similar experience in the wake of The Nightmare Before Christmas - it performed well below commercial expectations, and was for a time believed to be the end of his career. In both of these cases, I loved the moves and didn't realize they were considered anything but great until well afterward.

I'd love to see Myers try another movie like SIMAAM. A small comedy, based around normal, likable characters instead of broad parodies and cliches. No silly puns, no fart jokes, no picking Verne Troyer up like a doll (although it's entirely possible a part could be found for him in the type of movie I'm considering, it would not be based on demeaning him). More "We have a piper down" and less "Yeah, baby!" (or more "He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight on his great 'uge pillow", less "Tugginmypudha" - which I wouldn't have found amusing when I was fourteen, much less now) and Myers could be a comedic force to reckon with once again.

The failure of The Love Guru is probably not due to Myers failing to pander to the vast North American Hindu audience. It's more likely because his comedy is getting more juvenile, even as the audience that remembers his glory days grows older. I hope to see him in a better movie soon.

(For that matter, I'd like to see the other Mike Myers in a better movie than his last several soon too!)

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of race cars queueing up at the starting line.

1 comment:

RebelAngel said...

Personally, I believe all Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

I love that movie!

Other stuff, not so much. I am with you on this one, Z.