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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

OK. So you’re the owner (Alba) of a failing ice hockey team – let’s call it the Toronto Maple Leafs – and the fans are baying for your blood. Your only hope for securing your future – and that of the club – is to win the Stanley Cup.
But your star player, Darren Roanoake (Malco) is playing considerably below his best, because he’s just been dumped by his wife for the smarmy Jacques Grande (Timberlake), the goalie of deadly rivals LA Kings. Who you gonna call?
American-born, Indian ashram-trained Guru Pitka (Myers), apparently. Guru Pitka is a love expert, who’s returned to his native USA to try to challenge Deepak Chopra for the title of America’s number one self-help guru.
If he can get Roanoake back with his wife and help the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup, there’s a spot on the Oprah show for him – and with that will come untold guru success.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

It’s always a disappointment to watch someone deliver so far below what you’ve come to expect from the heights of his career. With Wayne’s World, Myers introduced himself as one of the kings of the comedy character – Austin Powers took this to new heights – and the likes of So I Married An Axe Murderer showed that he could even play “normal” with a degree of vulnerability and charm. Then there was Shrek – another character that combined the comedy with the vulnerability.
But with every line accompanied by a wink and a nudge, this film is laced with childish innuendo and jokes about the make genitalia. Even it its own world, it’s contrived and contorted for comic effect – a midget (Troyer – known to most as Myers’ own “mini-me” from the Austin Powers films) as a cut-throat hockey coach who gets flung across the ice when people sneeze – and the most beautiful woman in the world falling for the patronising smarminess of a bearded human embodiment of corny mantras and axioms.
To give him the benefit of the doubt, we could be watching a satire of the way powerful people follow crazy ideologies – and it could be a politically correct side-swipe at a world that says all sports stars have to be big and butch. The former is a little too much of a stretch – the latter would make it even more patronising than it already is.
It’s not without its merits – some of the toilet humour will doubtless catch you off guard so you’ll embarrass yourself by laughing and Myers’ inescapable charm does occasionally sneak out from under his hirsute shell. And you’ll almost certainly find yourself taking a catchphrase or two away with you.
You wouldn’t expect the story to be particularly impressive in a film like this – but the script just falls way short of the high targets Myers has set himself in the past.
A handful of big names in small cameos isn’t enough to raise more than a passing smile and some of the gags are a little too “in” for a non-American audience, but that’s not his fault, so I’ll excuse him that.
Perhaps more worrying is that some of the guru-gags sail a bit close to the racism line, falling just the right side, perhaps, because the character is actually an American, rather than an Indian).
It’s nearly so bad it’s good, but not quite…
But the saddest thing to acknowledge – if you’re actually after a bit of silly, harmless fun – is simply that most of the jokes – both visual and verbal – are just POOR – Pretty Obvious Or Rubb¡sh ™ – see it and you’ll see what I mean…
…alternatively, accept that that’s about as clever as it gets and ignore it unless you’re a teenaged boy, sneaking Dad’s beer out of the fridge while he’s out at the pub on a Friday night.

Opens nationwide 1st August 2008

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