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by Bill Gibron

20 Jun 2008


As stated before, the gossip got it wrong. Troma, left for dead by pundits who proclaimed its “Poultrygeist only” business plan a model for nothing but failure, wasn’t really on the brink of extinction. Instead, the independent titan responsible for such memorable cult classics as The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet was merely reconfiguring its priorities. It needed to move from its Manhattan digs when unscrupulous landlords raised their rent by a ridiculous amount, and the lack of available DVD product had nothing to do with a deteriorating bank account. Instead, the company’s latest big screen spectacle, a deranged chicken zombie flick, needed a theatrical chance before more digital delights hit the local B&M.

This past April saw the label finally return to the fan-friendly format, offering up the ganja goof Pot Zombies, and just last month, two more treats were unleashed on unsuspecting audiences everywhere. And both Bloodspit and Belcebu: Diablos Lesbos were just like other items in the distributor’s cockeyed catalog - oddball finds from a world slowly embracing the DIY moviemaking ethos. This pattern continues with June’s releases. In Offensive Behaviour, a group of idiosyncratic individuals find themselves locked in a struggle between life, love (or at least, sex), and death. In addition, Demons Among Us takes the corrupt corporate take-over of the media and imagines it as a parable involving a small Australian town under the onslaught of a group of devil-possessed killers.

In our first film, the residents of a small New Zealand apartment complex, are having a hard time coping. For them, things couldn’t get much worse. Upstairs, Quentin is sick of his nagging girlfriend Debbie. She wants him to give up his dreams of being a filmmaker and get a job. He just wants to sell a screenplay. Suddenly inspired, he decides to star her in a porno with best buddy Clarke to gain some quick cash. Meanwhile, an effeminate hitman/hairdresser named Nigel is also being harassed by his bitter old nun of a mother. She wants him to follow in the family footsteps - professional assassination. He just wants to style and blow. When a $500K contract job goes awry, it draws everyone into a surreal circle of sex, violence, and misplaced mail.

Beginning with a perfectly awful (and quite hilarious) movie pitch, and channeling the post-modern indie ideal fostered by such filmmakers as Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, Offensive Behaviour is neither as outrageous as it thinks it is, or as funny as it could be. Five years in the making, Patrick Gillies’ good natured gonzo can’t quite match the men he’s mimicking, but then again, it’s hard to feel fresh when your final product has been gestating since 1999. If you remove all the Pulp Snatch strategies and the planned tastelessness, one winds up with a decent, quite winning comment on how technology and the Super VHS spirit have changed filmmaking.

Since our hero fancies himself another homemade auteur, it’s interesting to see the clueless way Gillies handles him. Wide eyed optimism is one thing - brain dead filmmaking fundamentalism is another. When Quentin stumbles across a pile of rotting corpses, he doesn’t shirk. Instead, he revs up the camcorder and creates a snuff subtext. In fact, the whole living room smut storyline is far more successful than the swishy, stereotyped mother/son material. During these moments, both actors do a wonderful job of turning up the tension, and the dialogue has a wonderfully fresh ring to it. But anytime a director resorts to limp-wristed revelry in portraying a homosexual, instant proto-PC flags start flying. Gillies tries to countermand this notion by making the other gay character far more ‘normal’, but even he ends up wielding a dildo in a strange, Star Wars like battle scene.

Overall, Offensive Behaviour feels more like a miss than a hit. It still has much to recommend it - gallant performances, witty scripting, definite directorial flare, and a welcome cultural subtext - and yet it also feels incomplete. We never know why our family of assassins is after the grubby guy in the Apartment 7. We can’t quite fathom the attraction between Debbie and Clarke…that is, until a last minute denouement tries to clear it up. The ending does reek of the slightest of rip-offs, having it all be a ‘dream’ being just as crass as what is offered, and no movie can kill an innocent guinea pig (totally offscreen) and get away with it. As a matter of fact, Offensive Behaviour is the kind of film that offers a fairly balanced collection of positives and negatives. How you gauge the balance will definitely decide your personal entertainment fate.

On the other hand, Demons Among Us has no such issues. This is a straight ahead horror movie with small touches of David Lynch tossed in for added atmosphere. When Joe moves into a tiny town in the Australian outback, he senses something sinister in the air. Isolation has rendered the place odd, and slightly off-putting. One day, the entire Winters family is found dead, their bodies torn apart in senseless savagery. Naturally, the newcomer is the prime suspect, but our hero knows differently. Seems he’s convinced that Hell’s minions are running rampant throughout the countryside, and they mean to destroy all life on the planet. With the help of local gal Kylie Fitzgerald and Police Sergeant Geoff Harding, he hopes to uncover - and put an end to - their Satanic plot.

If ambience were indicative of brilliance, Stuart Simpson’s Demons Among Us would be genius. It’s unusual Donwunder locations, accented by excellent camerawork and powerful post-production tricks, yields an amazing assortment of moods. It also adds a great deal of necessary menace. Since Simpson isn’t out to fully explain his evil media premise - there is a strong link between advertising and malevolence established - and because his narrative is so straightforward (death, investigation, accusation), he needs something to fill in the blanks. Luckily, his work behind the lens is so impressive we forgive the occasional flaws. In fact, the missing elements add an aura of mystery that actually works here.

It helps that he has a capable cast of actors to realize his vision. Nathaniel Kiwi is excellent as Joe, bringing the right amount of disbelief and drive to his character. Similarly, newcomer Laura Hesse isn’t hampered by some kind of Method mannerism. Her shock seems very real, her decision to fight born out of personal determination, not some scripted circumstance. Perhaps the most difficult individual element here is the slightly silly enigma known as Ed Winters. Essayed by Peter Roberts (who also plays the investigating detective) in gin blossom makeup and dark sunglasses, we never get a handle on this crude corporate shark. He seems the perfect target for a mangoat marketing scheme, but we’d like to know more about what he represents, realistically.

Still, Demons Among Us delivers in the all important fright department, its frequent homages to films like The Evil Dead neatly buried inside its own angle on supernatural terror. The gore is plentiful, and yet kept in check, while the numerous camera tricks (multiple exposures, digital F/X) add another layer of inventiveness. Sure, there are obvious moments of genre referencing, as when Kylie carries a camera into a dark passageway, night vision reflecting the unseen nastiness within, and we never sense the story being properly wrapped up. Indeed, one gets the impression that Simpson is prepared to go down the full Raimi road, delivering sequels meant to explore the legimately loose ends. As it stands, this is a great beginning. But even if we never see another installment, what our independent maverick has created here remains quite impressive.

As usual, Troma tries to flesh out these unknown entities the best they can. The images are uniformly good, especially when you consider the lo-fi aspects of the productions. Similarly, the scant added content (some bloopers for Offensive, a Making-of and a gross out short for Demons) doesn’t detract from the movies they’re meant to supplement. In fact, it’s fair to say that with this batch of DVDs, the once floundering reputation of Lloyd Kaufman’s indie icon is completely back on track. These are the kind of films Troma built their current reputation on - completely unlike what the mainstream delivers while coming curiously close to the art the CEO consistently champions. It’s good to know that, with all the changes affecting the industry, there is still such a home for outsider cinema.

If you like your comedy cockeyed and just a tad underdone, Offensive Behaviour will deliver enough chuckles to eventually win you over. Just don’t worry too much about Patrick Gillies’ overcomplicated script and you’ll definitely enjoy the ride…or at least, part of it. Demons Among Us, on the other hand, is a minor masterwork, the kind of creep out that stands as a solid example of one man’s unfettered vision. It’s the sort of movie one gets lost in - and from the looks of it, this is not the nicest place to lose one’s way. Together they signify what Kaufman and the clan have been arguing over for months - Troma is back. Frankly, based on the influence the company can claim here, they never ever really left.

by Bill Gibron

19 Jun 2008


It’s nothing but comedies (and nothing very good) this week - with one limited release exception. For 20 June, here are the films in focus:

The Foot Fist Way [rating: 7]

Built out of the ‘asshole as hero’ mode of amusement, and anchored by a frightening portrayal by lead actor Danny McBride, The Foot Fist Way is a collection of contradictory ideals gelling effortlessly into a smart, savvy whole.

Comedy can come out of a number of circumstances. Sometimes, all you need is a goofy premise, and audiences will laugh without realizing it. At other instances, carefully drawn characters are required to gain the guffaws. There is parody and satire, high minded intellectualism and low brow slapstick. It takes skill to circumnavigate any one of these tenuous elements, while some filmmakers can manage all of them within a single cinematic setting. Such is the case with The Foot Fist Way, a $70,000 independent offering hijacked by Will Ferrell and Andy McKay for their Gary Sanchez Productions. This fudged up little gem may get lost among all the mainstream merriment, but it far surpasses what your sloppy Cineplex car wrecks have to offer. read full review…

Get Smart [rating: 4]

In a current comedy climate where such scant superficiality just won’t cut it, Get Smart is nothing but shallow.

By its very definition, something that’s “generic” is seen as “having no particularly distinctive quality or application”. This doesn’t make the object in question bad, just bland, as (un)exciting as anything else of its kind or type, nothing more or less. When it was announced that the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry sitcom from the ‘60s, Get Smart, was getting a post-millennial makeover, fans were skeptical. The hiring of The Office‘s Steve Carrel seemed to smooth things over, and the adding of Alan Arkin and Anne Hathaway were an equally pleasant surprise. Frankly, the filmmakers shouldn’t have bothered. While the casting is keen, the script - and the rest of the film - arrives deader than a double agent during the Cold War.  read full review…
 

Other Releases—In Brief

The Love Guru [rating: 2]

There’s a time, usually between puberty and post-graduate work, where humor revolving around the male genitalia becomes a guaranteed laugh getter. From novel nomenclature (‘wiener’, ‘wang’) to outright male organ riffs, adolescents can’t get enough of the comic crotch shot. This is clearly Mike Myers’ hope as he hurls, trained ape like, his horrendous filmic feces - known as The Love Guru - on unsuspecting summer audiences. As the gamey American Pitka, a self-help hack desperate to beat Deepak Chopra at his own New Age spiel, the former SNL superstar has finally found the proper cement sandals to wear in order to completely sink his career. As our unfunny hero hobbles around Toronto, trying to help star hockey player Darren Roanoke get his scoring groove - and wife - back, we are subjected to an onslaught of penis jokes unseen outside a day camp setting. Toss in bland cameos, Ben Kingsley as a hate crime, obligatory Vern Troyer, and a love interest (Jessica Alba) who’s all stale eye candy, and you’ve got one of the worst movies of the year. Even the most baffling Bollywood extravaganza makes more sense than this meandering mess - and at least it’s trying to entertain its audience. All Myers is doing here is stroking his own ego. The result is nothing short of nauseating.

by Bill Gibron

19 Jun 2008


By its very definition, something that’s “generic” is seen as “having no particularly distinctive quality or application”. This doesn’t make the object in question bad, just bland, as (un)exciting as anything else of its kind or type, nothing more or less. When it was announced that the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry sitcom from the ‘60s, Get Smart, was getting a post-millennial makeover, fans were skeptical. The hiring of The Office‘s Steve Carrel seemed to smooth things over, and the adding of Alan Arkin and Anne Hathaway were an equally pleasant surprise. Frankly, the filmmakers shouldn’t have bothered. While the casting is keen, the script - and the rest of the film - arrives deader than a double agent during the Cold War.

After years pushing papers behind a desk, Maxwell Smart is finally getting a chance to go out into the field. Seems the intelligence organization CONTROL has had its files compromised, and with the face and name of every other operative known, Max is the only one left. He is paired with fatal femme 99, who has just returned from facial reconstruction surgery, and together they investigate whether or not the terrorist organization KAOS is behind all the trouble. Turns out, not only are they out to destroy CONTROL, but the Eastern European leftover is looking to nuke a few friendly countries along the way.

Back in the early ‘80s, Hollywood actually tried to make a Get Smart movie. It was called The Nude Bomb, and it did just that. Even the hit and miss Mr. Brooks disowned it. Now, 28 years later, Tinsel Town is trying again - and this time around, this pointless, action-oriented update could be subtitled “The New Bomb”. Having failed to age gracefully or cleverly, the long standing rivalry between KAOS and CONTROL has been reduced to a series of riffs that have very little to do with spy spoofing, and everything to do with genetically freakish villains and blowing stuff up. Without its numerous nods to every testosterone fueled spectacle that cinema thinks equals excitement, we’d be left with a series of half-baked gags that don’t recall the original’s brilliance as much as dull its timeless shimmer.

As Maxwell Smart, Steve Carrel is no Don Adams, and frankly, this film never needs him to be. Instead of a bumbling boob who constantly seems to stumble his way into winning, this updated spy is just a dorked out spaz. By making Max an accidental know it all, a former analyst whose tireless research and reports actually yield vital counter espionage information, we miss the original’s wacked out whimsy. Sure, there are slapstick moments when our hero hinders his progress by banging into walls and destroying potential evidence, but there’s always a comeback, a moment when Max is pardoned for being a novice, and then celebrated for being right. 

As 99, Hathaway is also hampered with a backstory that does nothing for her character. We are supposed to assume that a simple mistake required this gal’s complete physical changeover, and the moment when she’s outed as almost middle aged rings rather false. Frankly, she’s not even good eye candy, Barbara Feldon fearlessly reflected the pop culture strut of the ‘60s with every move she made. Hathaway appears like a narrative mandate, a underwritten reality existing simply because the old sitcom featured a guy/gal combo as well. Elsewhere, Arkin’s Chief is nothing more than a series of agile old folks gags, while supporting players like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, David Koechner, and Terrance Stamp barely register. And let’s not even mention WWE Wrestler Dalip Singh. He is nothing more than an ethnically diverse Rondo Hatton.

Yet the weakest links in this lightweight loser remain the individuals behind the scenes. Reduced to roles as “consultants”, Brooks and Henry clearly had no involvement here. Even at their weakest, they can dream up better idiocy than this. Instead, the script by Tom Astle and Matt Ember reveals the pairs’ previous stint on the boob tube. Their jokes fall flat because they fail to establish a reason - either individually or situationally - as to why they should work. Even worse, Peter Segal’s hamfisted direction ditches timing (crucial to making a successful comedy) in favor of overdone action scenes and lots of dead air. At any given moment, there are more bullets flying than one-liners…and both tend to miss their mark.

Since the plot is so serious (stealing bombs and nuking LA is not remotely funny in our post-9/11 world) and the pathway there so uninspired, we are left waiting for the laughs. As clues cluster and fall apart, as plot twists turn pointless and perplexing, we wait for the sweet release of humor. As with most of Get Smart, however, we are stuck working for our wit, digging through the endless mugging, the missed line readings, the ridiculous reliance on techno-geek speak (including a cameo by Heroes’ Masi Oka as a CONTROL uber-nerd), and Alan Arkin pratfalling like a Geriatric Lewis. In a current comedy climate where such scant superficiality just won’t cut it, Get Smart is nothing but shallow.

Because it takes no risks, because it refuses to reimagine or deconstruct the original series for anything remotely clever or contemporary, because its cast is given little or nothing to do, Get Smart readily remains generic. It’s a motion picture plebe in a cultural climate that actually embraces such a lack of legitimate talent. Since audiences tend to demand very little of their entertainment, Segal and company can get away with delivering as little as possible. They hope that nostalgia for the past, mixed with the sight of the slightly famous from today, will equal an easy buck. While the dollars won’t be difficult to earn, deserving them remains questionable at best.

by Bill Gibron

19 Jun 2008


Comedy can come out of a number of circumstances. Sometimes, all you need is a goofy premise, and audiences will laugh without realizing it. At other instances, carefully drawn characters are required to gain the guffaws. There is parody and satire, high minded intellectualism and low brow slapstick. It takes skill to circumnavigate any one of these tenuous elements, while some filmmakers can manage all of them within a single cinematic setting. Such is the case with The Foot Fist Way, a $70,000 independent offering hijacked by Will Ferrell and Andy McKay for their Gary Sanchez Productions. This fudged up little gem may get lost among all the mainstream merriment, but it far surpasses what your sloppy Cineplex car wrecks have to offer.

Fred Simmons, former World Tae Kwan Do champion, runs a small little school in a North Carolina strip mall. His daily activities include grooming his students for a future as martial artists, keeping his eye on his wayward wife, ogling the new female talent taking his class, working on angles for his public demonstrations, and idolizing Hollywood action hero Chuck “The Truck” Wallace. When a chance comes to meet his idol, he takes his two most promising apprentices (Julio and Rick) and his best buddy Mike McCallister on a rollicking road trip, complete with a detour into drugs, self-defense, and debauchery. But when Wallace agrees to come back for the testing of Simmons’ scholars, his presence may be too much for the man.

Built out of the ‘asshole as hero’ mode of amusement, and anchored by a frightening portrayal by lead actor Danny McBride, The Foot Fist Way is a collection of contradictory ideals gelling effortlessly into a smart, savvy whole. Clearly, we are not supposed to indentify with this child-beating, egomaniacal jerk-off, personal philosophy borne out of a shocking combination of Eastern wisdom and way too much near beer. Simmons is given his vulnerable moments - once he learns of his wife’s adultery, a stare down in the mirror brings out levels of hidden horror few could properly manage - but he’s also functioning under a daily delusion. He believes that if he can just follow the mandates of his school’s kung fu oath, he can survive anything. Unfortunately, he can barely get through a beginner’s class without cursing out some five-year-old.

As a cold, calculated character study, The Foot Fist Way feels more like a mockumentary than a standard motion picture. Director (and co-star) Jody Hill applies a found footage style, camera circling the action like a combatant about to enter the Octagon. There are times when the approach breaks free, a music-based montage of the boys’ adventures at Wallace’s suite party proving that sometimes, selected shots edited to songs can actually work. He does it again during our final showdown, Simmons taking on his hero to see who truly is the king of the board/concrete block break. Yet the film really sizzles when Hill lets the lens rest, allowing McBride and the rest of the cast to improvise and react to the surreality surrounding them.

As stated before, our lead is amazing, managing to be both slightly loveable and utterly loathsome at the same time. We understand Simmons’ pain…sort of. He’s a minor fish in an even smaller pond, someone who strove to be the best at what he does only to wind up teaching techniques to toddlers and the borderline infirmed. His trophy wife is more of an aggravation than aphrodisiac, and as embodied (and one does mean “bodied”) by newcomer Mary Jane Bostic, the emasculation of her infidelity is obvious. As Chuck “The Truck” Wallace, co-writer Ben Best is pitch perfect. Imagine a certain ‘Texas Ranger’ wrapped in half-conscious hippy garb, eyes bleary from a life lost in a liquor and lady fueled limelight. His scenes with Simmons are priceless, since they offer an opportunity to see one butthead belittling another.

As for its overall narrative structure, The Foot Fist Way is a tad scattered. There is a vignette oriented quality to the storyline, Simmons and his class introduced before random acts of oddness happen. There are times when things fall flat, as when our lunkhead chastises his wife for not thinking he’s ‘great’ enough. But McBride and Hill are totally committed to this material, never once breaking that all important Fourth Wall to wink at the audience in “aren’t we rotten” recognition. Naturally, this adds to the film’s sense of authenticity. We are supposed to see Simmons for what he is - an uncomplicated dullard dealt a real world raw hand by a society that wants to complicate things.

Of course, it helps that there are plenty of laughs here. One scene in particular is so scatologically brilliant (Simmons berates his wife one last time) it will be quoted by broken hearted jarheads for decades to come. In other places, the blackly comic sight of kids getting kicked and punched by an adult offers a gut load of guilty pleasures. Hill and company never go for the obvious joke, instead hoping our collective involvement in these characters’ dilemmas lead to the laughs. Most of the time they do, and this is The Foot Fist Way‘s greatest strength. Even when opportunities are missed or just improperly paid off, the spunky, go for broke spirit remains.

It’s a shame that, in a current marketplace that favors marginal comedians (Steve Carrel, Mike Myers) going gonzo for supposed laughs (Get Smart and The Love Guru, respectively), a movie like The Foot Fist Way is being unceremoniously dumped. Like Napoleon Dynamite, or Juno, this is the kind of film that could, with proper cult creativity and strategizing, become a subtle sleeper, destined to keep college kids and like minded moviegoers doubled over in reverse ironic joy. They say that everyone loves a hero and pities a loser. Fred Simmons is neither, both, and a pretty bad example of each. He’s also far funnier than any old school secret agent or American born guru. Unfortunately, unless you look hard, it may be difficult to discover why.

by Bill Gibron

18 Jun 2008


It stands as one of the most unusual, and blinkered, boycotts ever. For the last few months, self-proclaimed Indo-American leader Rajan Zed has been waging a one man campaign against Mike Myers’ latest live action comedy, The Love Guru. Pointing to the fact that the film features an American Born master who comes back to his native land to help a hockey player in distress, Zed has launched a bi-weekly (and sometimes more) email “awareness” campaign, demanding everything from the MPAA labeling the movie “NC-17” to requesting the same body suspend Paramount for “unethical practices” (anyone whose seen This Film is Not Yet Rated knows that ain’t happening anytime soon).

Naturally, all of this comes from someone who, admittedly, has not seen the final film. Nor can he site specific allegations against Myers and company. All he can do is complain about the trailer “lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously”. And without said personal perspective, his screeds come across as horribly misinformed. Over the course of the last few weeks, Zed has also come under fire for mixing fact with a little propagandized fiction. Back in April, he announced that the British Film Institute (better known by the initial BFI) had no intention of supporting, or in their words “screening” the film. Turns out, that’s standard policy for the organization, a procedural loophole victory at best.

As for the rest of his rants, Zed has tried everything and anything. He wanted advance screenings, and when he was awarded them, he still complained. When Paramount finally withdrew the offer, he called conspiracy. He supposedly rallied other religions to his defense, only to have them back off any major pronouncements with a “wait and see” attitude. Now, there is nothing wrong with one ethnic culture or race responding with concern when it appears that someone is about to ridicule their religion or heritage. Even worse, The Love Guru looked like it would indeed use every known concept of Hinduism and Eastern philosophy to fuel yet another regressive Mike Myer’s comedy.

Specifically, the simplistic narrative follows Maurice Pitka, a Western orphan who finds himself learning the ways of the guru alongside the now more famous Deepak Chopra. As he ages, our hero is sick of the comparison, and is looking for a high profile case to bring him to the attention of Oprah, and as a result, the American mainstream. As luck would have it, star player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Darren Roanoke, is having marital troubles. His wife has left him for the notoriously well-hung goalie of the Los Angeles Kings, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande, and as a result, he can no longer score goals. With team owner Jane Bullard and Leaf’s coach Cherkov desperate, they turn to Pitka and his ‘DRAMA’ method to rekindle Roanoke’s romance and save the organization’s Stanley Cup hopes.

In the end, Zed shouldn’t have bothered. Certainly, The Love Guru gives certain Indian stereotypes a tweaking or two. Ben Kingsley, revered for his Oscar winning performance as the nation’s heroic Gandhi, pisses all over the famed pacifists legacy by playing a cross-eyed ashram teacher who gained his horrendous eyesight from years of masturbation. He speaks in a silly voice, makes students fight with mops soaked in his own urine, and gets a juvenile kick out of keeping Myers’ Pitka in an unnecessary vow of chastity. If it was possible, Zed and his gang should ask the Academy to take back the British thespian’s award. He does more damage to the Asian country’s people and reputation with this performance than all the good his 1982 biopic did.

Similarly, Myers does make it seem like all gurus are money grubbing materialists who pervert faith and inner peace into a series of babbling best sellers and a collection of high concept catchphrases. Pitka is always ending his mantras with a tiny “TM” tag, indicating that the wisdom he just quoted is trademarked, and therefore subject to copyrights and royalties. He has personal servants who handle all of his affairs, including a few that are far more intimate than one imagines real gurus require, and there’s a seismic, show business flare to everything Pitka does. Alongside his hopped up horndog tendencies, Myers makes his hero so flawed that we’re not sure if he’s meant as a comment on, or a crass, crude put down of, true Indian wise men.

Such a confused purpose regarding the source material leaves Zed and all others on the outside looking rather confused. Myers personal adoration for Chopra is legendary, and interviews add another level of respect to a figure the comedian feels helped himself - and millions more - find some manner of ersatz enlightenment. So it’s clear the actor would claim comedic poetic license when it comes to how he depicts guru nation. In addition, Pitka’s pitch works. Whatever wacked out system of suggestions and rituals he demands seem successful. Roanoke gets back with his wife, he leads the Leafs to the final game of the Cup, and he even overcomes his phobia regarding his mother. Of course, it takes a pair of elephants having sex to cure that sports performance anxiety ailment.

Indeed, if Zed wants to really get angry about something, one suggests he take the MPAA to task for awarding this tawdry, salacious comedy, overflowing with as many dick and diarrhea jokes as possible, a lowly PG-13 rating. That’s right, kids between the ages of eight and twelve, guided by the unmitigated buzz of an MTV saturated media hype, will be able to witness more penis humor than a dorm room full of drunken frat pledges. The movie starts with a dong joke and goes from there - and repeats said wang witticisms over and over again. If Myers is not making fun of Vern Troyer’s size (a given in this kind of film) he is finding new and novel ways to reference the male member. To say it grows tiresome would be giving tediousness a bad name.

Similarly, Myers clearly believes that Judd Apatow and his go-to gang of regulars have failed to fully develop and explore all levels of gross out juvenilia. So The Love Guru skips things like characterization, plot development, drama, insight, and substance to swim in oceans of personal offal. There are farts, snot rockets, dung, numerous mention of skidmarks (and other verbal variations on the dirty drawers), and the aforementioned wiener-palooza. While the sequence with Kingsley and the nauseating pee fight tops them all, there is still enough mind numbing noxiousness to get your gag reflex good and active. While Apatow can claim scatology with subtext, Myers is like a monkey, flinging his poo at the screen for audiences to enjoy.

Zed is wasting his breath if he thinks anyone will actually boycott this unsuccessful swill. The demographic - read: teen boys and their text-tweener dates - will giggle their way to a Summer full of sympathy mimicry, and Pitka is so completely unrealistic that anyone thinking Hindus are being defamed will look like an idiot in the claim. In fact, The Love Guru has so many insider winks to the viewer that it seems to have anticipated the fuss and foiled it by taking absolutely nothing seriously. Had this campaign actually raised the hackles of grass roots organizations everywhere, there would have been a lot of wasted protest breath. Myers’ intent is obvious - do anything, including the slightest of ethnic slams, for a laugh.

Sadly, the only honest snickers will come from anyone who has read Zed’s missives over the last few months. This does not defend The Love Guru - it’s a god-awful anti-comedy, unfunny in unfathomable, almost heroic ways. But it should teach anyone who wants to openly complain about an upcoming project (and the supposedly negative depiction within) to get their facts straight before starting to complain. This is one of those cases where everything, and nothing, could be twisted into being racially insensitive or just downright dumb - and sometimes, both.

Rajan Zed has every right to protect his people and his place among them. He also has the freedom of speech to voice his well meaning and thoughtful concerns. But like the boy who cried wolf, arguing against something you’re not sure exists means that, when the time comes to really go after an abuse, you’ll be viewed less like a savior and more like a stooge. One imagines that no one could stop Myers in pursuit of his big screen muse. It’s too bad Zed didn’t wait until he knew what he was actually attacking before taking up the cause. Anything to keep this crappy movie out of the cultural mainstream would definitely been welcomed. 

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