Mike Myers: Doctor Evil Turns 'Love Guru'

Mike Myers plays Pitka in 'The Love Guru.' i i

Mike Myers makes his first on-screen appearance since 2003 in The Love Guru. Kevin Winter/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Mike Myers plays Pitka in 'The Love Guru.'

Mike Myers makes his first on-screen appearance since 2003 in The Love Guru.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Comedian Mike Myers has created a slew of memorable characters throughout his career: Dr. Evil, Austin Powers, Shrek and Wayne's World's Wayne Campbell all serve as cultural reference points.

Now, Myers wants to add another indelible character to that list: The Guru Pitka. He runs a posh, celebrity-swarmed Hollywood ashram — and in Myers' new satirical comedy The Love Guru, he's charged with reuniting a hockey star with his estranged wife so the player can lead his team to win the Stanley Cup.

But The Love Guru may be too outrageous for some. Some Hindu groups fear that the movie promotes offensive stereotypes. Some are even considering a boycott against Paramount Pictures.

Myers, however, says nothing could be further from what he intended. In fact he intended the film, in part, as a tribute to Deepak Chopra, a pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine and Myers' good friend. (Though he's caricatured in the film, Chopra appears in a brief cameo role.)

The Love Guru is also a product of Myers' grief over his father's death in 1991 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

"The Guru Pitka started as a way of dealing with that loss," Myers says. "I didn't understand why the universe would take away the one guy I wanted to see all this amazing success that was happening. ... I just started reading — things philosophical, things spiritual."

Myers says that while the film is a comedy, it contains some philosophical truths — ideas that helped him cope after his father's death, now framed as tenets of the Guru Pitka's belief system.

"I wanted to have a very silly delivery system for some of the ideas I actually believe in. ... You've got to initially lighten up, go back to the old pain, and rewrite a new paradigm," Myers says.

In this Fresh Air interview, Myers tells Terry Gross about how his father introduced him to the British comedies that eventually inspired his Austin Powers adventures — and about how he discovered the truth of Lenny Bruce's observation that "comedy is pain plus time."

And while some might find Myers' cheeky brand of comedy inappropriate, the actor says there is heart underneath the raunchy jokes.

"'True love triumphs over lust' is the message of Austin Powers," he says.

The Love Guru is set to open in theaters June 20.

'Love Guru': From Mike Myers, an Unholy Mess

Mike Myers plays Pitka in 'The Love Guru.' i i

Guru Pitka (Mike Myers) preaches a five-step self-help discipline he calls DRAMA — Distraction, Regression, Adjustment, Maturation, Action. George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures
Mike Myers plays Pitka in 'The Love Guru.'

Guru Pitka (Mike Myers) preaches a five-step self-help discipline he calls DRAMA — Distraction, Regression, Adjustment, Maturation, Action.

George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures

The Love Guru

  • Director: Marco Schnabel
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Rated PG-13: Plenty of phallic humor mixed with a little violence and the occasional bong joke.

Jessica Alba plays Jane Bullard in 'The Love Guru' i i

Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) works out her love problems through Bollywood-style dances. George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures
Jessica Alba plays Jane Bullard in 'The Love Guru'

Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) works out her love problems through Bollywood-style dances.

George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures

Austin Powers and Shrek have nothing to worry about — but unsuspecting audiences sure do.

Which is to say that The Love Guru's chastity-belt wearing, inane-mantra-spouting Guru Pitka — Mike Myers' latest (allegedly) comic creation — is going to steal neither fan attention nor the star's availability from his other franchises.

Those suckered into seeing this relentless exercise in juvenilia, meanwhile, may well recoil from sports comedies, Bollywood musicals, self-help spiritualists, puns and even characters with beards for the foreseeable future.

Or from ever wanting to see Myers again, in any context.

It's hard to imagine who the comedian thought the target audience might be for a slapsticky self-help/ice-hockey/ elephant-poo comedy. It's rated PG-13, but it's essentially unsuitable for even mildly discerning viewers of any age.

The Love Guru is about how Pitka, the world's No. 2 Near Eastern spiritualist — after Deepak Chopra, who foolishly agreed to a cameo — follows his bliss from an ashram to the locker room of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Their star player's wife is being shtupped, you see, by competitor Jacques Le Coq Grande, played gamely by Justin Timberlake in a padded codpiece (where's the Zohan when you need him?), and that's putting Toronto's finest off his game. So the team's owner (a hapless Jessica Alba) has hired Pitka to help salvage the squad's Stanley Cup prospects.

The guru's methods involve penis jokes, lewd self-help shtick, elephant erotica and effluvia, and an endless stream of single-entendres — all given the bum's rush by first-time director Marco Schnabel without the slightest sense of timing or comic flair.

Myers, who co-wrote and co-produced — effectively meaning no one could say nay, no matter how lame his ideas — has imported Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer from the Austin Powers movies to be subjected to hobbit jokes and other short shtick. Stephen Colbert provokes exactly one smile in his five minutes of screen time as a drug-addicted hockey announcer, but Brits Ben Kingsley and John Oliver are entirely upstaged by their character names as cross-eyed Guru Tugginmypudha (sound it out), and agent Dick Pants.

None of them — not one, not for a moment — is remotely funny.

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