Mike Myers: Cooked or just simmering?

Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune (MCT)

Now that Mike Myers' "The Love Guru" looks like a critical and commercial bomb, the buzzards are circling over the writer-star's career.

Is he over?

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers asks the question this way: "Is the failure of 'The Love Guru' merely a slip or a sign of dire things to come?"

Given that "The Love Guru" came five years after his previous live-action film (the awful "The Cat in the Hat," though he didn't conceive that one), he can't be feeling too encouraged right now.

And comedy is a funny thing (so to speak). What made us laugh several years ago might make us grimace now.

Sacha Baron Cohen's crazy-Kazakh misadventures among unsuspecting real folks in "Borat" struck us as hilarious, and he's banking we'll feel the same about his gay Austrian fashionista in his upcoming "Bruno" movie.

But people found Myers' mustachioed guru's mugging at the camera amid crotch and midget jokes to be juvenile and grating. "Austin Powers 4" would have been easier to market, but would we have been any more in the mood for Myers' brand of humor in that package?

Hey, at least he tried to come up with something new.

So now what?

Well, first of all, Myers should realize he's sitting pretty. Even actors' careers are supposed to have "Behind the Music" arcs these days, and "The Love Guru" is just the kind of disaster to set the table for the inevitable comeback.

We love comebacks even more than opportunities for a big pile-on.

John Travolta had "Pulp Fiction" after a string of straight-to-video releases.

Robin Williams had "Good Will Hunting" after "Fathers' Day."

Bill Murray had "Rushmore" (and eventually "Lost in Translation") after "The Man Who Knew Too Little" and "Larger Than Life."

Even "A League of Their Own" was considered a comeback for Tom Hanks after the one-two punch of "Joe Versus the Volcano" and "Bonfire of the Vanities." "Sleepless in Seattle," "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump" soon followed.

What should Myers do?

Should he go back to the well and make "Austin Powers 4" or a "Wayne's World"-in-middle-age movie?

Should he finally star as the late Who drummer Keith Moon in that biopic he's been talking about for years? After all, the 45-year-old Myers is only 13 years older than Moon was when he died (and, to be fair, Myers looks better).

Should he make "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," another of his long-brewing projects?

Should he dust off that old "Dieter" script, the one he backed out of making in 2000, thus triggering a breach-of-contract suit from Universal? (Part of the settlement was his agreeing to star in "The Cat in the Hat.")

Or should he put himself in the hands of a skilled dramatic director, take on his first serious role since 1998's "54" and tap into that dark side that he apparently displays off but not on screen?

I vote for that last option. And you?

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