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HTF Blu-Ray Review: The Love Guru

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist

PatWahlquist

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  • Join Date: Jun 13 2002

Posted September 11 2008 - 03:01 AM


The Love Guru (Blu-Ray)

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Rated: PG-13 (crude and sexual content throughout, language, some comic violence and drug references)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; English SDH+
Time: 126 minutes
Disc Format: 1 SS/DL BD
Case Style: Keep case
Theatrical Release Date: 2008
Blu-Ray Release Date: September 16, 2008

How do some comedic actors go from having strings of bold, innovative and gut-busting movies to having strings of duds? What is it that leaves them: their inner demons, their unhappiness in life, their addictions? And how is it their very name, even after a string of duds, still puts butts in chairs? Case in point is Mike Myers, who is responsible for some of the funniest flicks of the past twenty years which makes the insipid The Love Guru an even sadder disaster.

Myers plays The Guru Pitka, the second most famous pop guru behind the Deepak Chopra. Pitka wants Chopra’s status as the best so he may amass a bigger fortune and get on Oprah’s show. He trained under Guru Tuginmypudha (Ben Kingsly hamming it up), the cross-eyed teacher to Chopra and a slew of other gurus. When the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team’s star player Darren Roanoke’s (Romany Malco) game turns to crap due to marital problems, team owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) turns to Pitka to turn around Roanoke. Roanoke’s wife has taken up with rival goalie Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake) adding further angst to Roanoke. While Pitka is trying to mend that relationship he is also dealing with his sheltered past and a possible budding relationship with Jane.

While watching the movie I couldn’t stop thinking of numerous other movies The Love Guru was ripping off, including Myers own Austin Powers and Wayne’s World pictures, The Jerk, Airplane!, The Simpsons, Anchorman, several Mel Brooks movies and many others. In the best Myers comedies, such as the two I mentioned earlier, part of the fun was the lead characters weren’t in on the joke with us. Here, Pitka is flaunting the joke over and over—ou! He’s edgy and sexual (not really) and he can make a double entendre out of most any phrase. When Wayne Campbell does it, his mocking is charming and rascally; when Pitka does it, it’s annoying and insulting to the audience. The best Myers characters always give the audience a slight wink and nudge like we’re a fly on the wall of some other, funnier world. This time, we feel like we’re trapped in a self help meeting gone horribly wrong, where nothing makes sense and 500 fart and sex jokes ain’t gonna make up for it. I don’t even know how you could take two of the funniest comedic actors out there, Jim Gaffigan and Stephen Colbert, and make them less funny, with retreads of Fred Willard’s infinitely more appealing Buck Laughlin. Wait, I figured it out: give the laurels of Mike Myers free reign with a first time director, how can you go wrong? Very easily.


Video:
Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment.

The Love Guru is encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC codec at 1080p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The picture is very colorful throughout, especially in the costumes. These colors are well represented and accurate. Flesh tones come across as natural, but the fakeness of Pitka’s nose is evident. Black levels are good, but tough to measure as the movie takes place primarily during the day. Detail is good showing the intricacies in the costumes and sets. Sharpness is just a little soft but the picture retains its film-like appearance. I did not notice any edge enhancement or other dirt or debris.


Audio:
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI.

I watched the move with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track engaged, only to be underwhelmed no so much by the quality of the presentation, but the lack of excitement in the sound mix itself. The audio remains primarily in the front soundstage with the surrounds being used for environmental effects. However, when the musical numbers or scenes in the hockey arena come up, the surrounds engage and produce a very pleasing soundstage. Voices are accurately reproduced and blend well with the rest of the soundtrack. Bass effects, again, are most noticeable during the songs but otherwise don’t contribute much.


Bonus Material: all of this content is in HD.

Mike Myers and The Love Guru: A Look Inside (9:35): standard EPK stuff where Myers, the cast and crew try to make the film sound funny and interesting.

One Helluva Elephant (5:44): some background on the fake elephant.

Hockey Training for Actors (8:03): short piece explaining how the actors and crew prepared and shot the hockey scenes.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (13:46): eleven of ‘em adding nothing to the picture, unfortunately.

Bloopers (3:48): Jessica Alba winds up spit spraying all over the other actors. Lucky devils. And some other funny bits.

Back in the Booth with Trent and Jay (5:08): finally, I laughed! A segment with some bonus footage of Colbert and Gaffigan.

Outtakes and More (10:14): after deleted and extended scenes and bloopers, I’m not sure why this is here.

Trailer.


Conclusions:
An over-eager story and cast produce a lackluster, and just plain un-funny, movie that is not even saved by an exciting home theater experience.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.