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
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