‘Love Guru’ and the Delicate Art of Disgust

By Beacon Staff

Opinion writing can be a tricky business, particularly when it comes to criticism. An influential critic has enormous power. A bad review can put a restaurant out of business within weeks of its opening. A scathing editorial can effectively write a candidate’s political obituary. The opinion writer must take great pains not to destroy whatever it is he or she is writing about. And then there are movie critics who don’t suffer any of these concerns, and, every so often, come across a film they detest so much that it becomes a competition to see who can write the most scathing, vitriolic and humorous review. Such is the case with the latest Mike Myers comedy, “The Love Guru,” premiering this weekend.

Critics hate this movie – about a Canadian/Hindu swami helping a hockey player with his love life – so much that they are struggling to employ descriptions that transcend the emotion of hatred. The reviews have essentially become a writers’ game of one-upsmanship to see who can outdo the others in expressing disgust, not only for the film, but for Myers’ entire philosophy of humor.

So, for your reading pleasure, I present to you the choicest excerpts from our culture’s top film critics lambasting the “Guru.”

Dana Stevens of Slate.com called it “a movie so bad that it takes you to a place beyond good and evil and abandons you there, shivering and alone.”

“This tale of a guru who brings joy to all who meet him,” Stevens wrote, “is the most joy-draining 88 minutes I’ve ever spent outside a hospital waiting room.”

A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote: “To say that the movie is not funny is merely to affirm the obvious. The word ‘unfunny’ surely applies to Mr. Myers’s obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, ‘The Love Guru’ is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.”

Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out New York called it: “An oh-my-God-level disaster that’ll make you wonder if Hollywood actually hates us.”

Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote: “At 88 minutes, The Love Guru would have benefited from a trim of roughly 80 minutes.”

(Warning: This review is explicitly titled.) Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News wrote: “With this film, Myers puts a shotgun in the mouth of comedy and kills it. This isn’t merely a bad film, but a painful experience that you keep telling yourself to leave… one of the most inept pathetic terrifyingly awful experiences I’ve ever suffered through.”

The list, as you might imagine, goes on. On the other hand, nothing benefits a comedy more than low expectations. And I often disagree wholeheartedly with critics when it comes to comedies. But if you plan on dropping $8 to see the film this weekend, you can’t say you weren’t warned.

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