The Guru Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Published Feb 01, 2003This film encouraged that "tiny talent time" feeling; that particular kind of embarrassment that traps me in my seat. I know I should run but can only manage to cringe and look away. The Guru tries oh how it tries to be a feel good romantic comedy but instead comes across as a low level creepy movie that hopes its audience will be titillated by the word "pussy."
Ramu (Jimi Mistry) leaves India in search of the American dream. He intends to be a star, to live in a penthouse and drive a Mercedes. He ends up in a porn movie but can't perform. Even Sharona's (Heather Graham) inspirational words about "rosebuds" and "God's love" don't help. Through a series of crazy hi-jinx and misadventures, he is mistaken for a Swami who offers advice on love and sex. He repeats Sharona's advice and the rich folk believe he's offering Eastern philosophy. The Guru mixes Bollywood musicals with "good old American know-how" but with little success.
Mistry can be charming but this isn't one of those times; there's desperation to his mugging for the camera; a sad need to please in a lacklustre movie. Trust me, if I'm not impressed by a musical number than there's something wrong. One of my favourite movies has a dancing deaf mute, so you'd think it wouldn't take much to please me. The Guru proves this theory wrong. And then there's Heather Graham. She was competent, if not actually good, in other films but these are distant memories. Her performance has the feel of a Rushmore-style high school production of Boogie Nights. Raising the inflection at the end of each sentence doesn't make the lines more interesting, or funny, or appealing. Who knew singing, dancing and porn could be so drop dead boring?