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Friday, June 20, 2008

Sorry, Mike Myers. I'm not feeling the Love. (Who is?)

I was unable to screen The Love Guru for this week's paper. Apparently I'm not alone; looking for an alternative newsweekly review of the horrifically reviewed comedy from the former clown prince of Hollywood is an exercise in futility. (Maybe that's because studios are making it more and more difficult for alt-weeklies to screen movies in time for their weekly deadlines, but then, they're making it difficult for everyone to screen indie films for review because they keep changing the release dates, but whatever. More on that later.) I'm struggling to think of a more poorly reviewed film this year by someone held in such high esteem.

click to enlarge guruweb.jpg

But as chronicled in Entertainment Weekly's recent profile of Myers, there's no love lost for him in Hollywood. In a city filled with egomaniacs, Myers seems to be a particular target of scorn. Some think he's singled out unfairly; others wish he'd just go away. The man who once supposedly had the Midas touch with the Wayne's World, Austin Powers and Shrek franchises seems to have, ahem, lost his mojo on this one.

I know it's a predictable bit of pile on, but while I've always found Myers amusing, I've never really gotten the depths of praise heaped on him over the years. I've often thought of him as the right comic talent at the right time, a "Saturday Night Live" sketch genius who had been able to stretch sometimes brilliant gags, sound bites and wordplay into movie-length hits. But, really, how hard did you laugh at any of the Wayne's World or Austin Powers sequels? (I completely avoided the last AP installment, Goldmember, as well as the third Shrek cuz just I figured it would be more of the same.) Frankly, I think the most daring movie work Myers did was portraying Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell in 1998's 54. Besides delivering a spot-on mimic job, Myers captured the tragedy of Rubell.

A lot of Myers' critics believe his style of comedy is already played out. I'm inclined to agree. The thing is, Myers' style is so facile, it doesn't warrant much examination. To borrow the current phrase du jour, it is what it is. And that's just not that much to get excited about. I have a bad feeling that, come Monday, the box-office receipts will bear that out.

(Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures)

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