Under a new name and equally aggressive ethnic branding, Austin Powers is alive again: Like his predecessor, “Love Guru” Pitka (Mike Myers) delivers all of his naughty punchlines (about diarrhea noises, chastity-belt erections and elephant-fucking) with the smile and shrug of a friend who tells a bad joke before saying, “Get it?” (It’s funny because he’s Indian!) Without the sequels and $200 million gross, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me wasn’t unlike the comedies spawned by any number of other SNL alumni—a character shtick built around plot contrivances and cameos. This time the plot involves a hockey player’s messy breakup that needs to be mended before the Stanley Cup championship, and the cameos are Justin Timberlake (as a well-endowed goalie obsessed with Celine Dion) and Jessica Alba’s boobs. While the Austin Powers movies skimmed ‘60s mod culture for good wardrobes, Love Guru both makes too much and never enough of Pitka’s Indian upbringing—playing up the accent but little else. Only in one scene does Myers successfully crack wise about transplanted cultural values, when the guru’s daydream about Alba’s lady parts turns into an over-saturated, hyper-zoom Bollywood music video that quickly fades away. Myers knows the simple power of a well-played penis joke, but as a writer he still hasn’t figured out how to make characters who aren’t just funny variations of himself.
- Marco Schnabel
- Mike Myers, Graham Gordy
- Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer, Justin Timberlake, Meagan Good, Ben Kingsley, Jim Gaffigan
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