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The Guru

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Guru

Starring: Heather Graham, Jimi Mistry
Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Rated: R
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: January 2003
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Marisa Tomei, Michael McKean, Ajay Naidu, Anita Gillette, Malachy McCourt, Dwight Ewell, Christine Baranski, Emil Marwa

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

A porn star acting opposite Heather Graham by day and Marisa Tomei's boyfriend by night -- surely that would be every man's dream. With THE GURU, director Daisy von Scherler Mayer, who last made the disappointing MADELINE, manages to fail spectacularly again with another surefire concept. She doesn't even get decent performances out of either of these usually reliable stars.

The story has Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry) leaving India to make his fortune in America. Thinking he is auditioning for a normal movie, since he doesn't understand American slang, Ramu does a RISKY BUSINESS song-and-dance routine for director Dwain (Michael McKean). Seeing fresh-faced talent, Dwain casts Ramu opposite Sharonna (Graham) in her latest porn flick. Once on the set, Ramu develops performance problems. Half of the plot has Sharonna teaching Ramu how to mentally approach his new job, when she isn't dating a very Catholic fireman who thinks she is a goody two-shoes substitute teacher.

The other plot line concerns a spoiled rich woman named Lexi (Tomei), who is accidentally led to believe that Ramu is a sex guru. As he falls for her, we, of course, realize that he'd really be happier with Sharonna.

Although the story may sound promising, it keeps falling as flat as Ramu's ... well, let's not go there. For a movie which isn't bad, just boring, it had one of the highest walkout counts that I've ever observed. Several dozen people in my audience gave up and left.

The choppy film has a few potentially good moments, but, whenever it starts to have one, Mayer cuts it short as if she'd be embarrassed if someone found her comedy funny. And speaking of embarrassment, why did she bring the film in at an R rating and then proceed to make it so tame. If ever a movie needed more spice, it is THE GURU.

There is one very brief but satisfying moment in THE GURU. When Rusty (Dash Mihok), Sharonna's boyfriend, walks in on Sharonna and Ramu, Ramu pretends to be a plumber fixing her toilet. After Ramu leaves, Rusty wonders why he didn't have any tools. He was a "holistic plumber" Sharonna reassures her dim-witted boyfriend.

THE GURU runs a long 1:34. It is rated R for "strong sexual content including dialogue, and for language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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