The Guru (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/08/2002

Three out of five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Sweet-natured, colourful romantic comedy that's not especially original, but has an infectious sense of fun.

With the Bollywood Invasion getting ever stronger (Lagaan nominated at the Oscars, Bollywood dance numbers referenced in movies like Ghost World, etc), it was only a matter of time before someone did a 'Bollywood meets Hollywood' movie.

Accordingly, The Guru is inspired by executive producer (and Elizabeth director) Shekhar Kapur's experiences in America and proves to be a brightly coloured, entertaining little comedy.

Comedy Misunderstanding

Ex-Eastenders star Jimi Mistry (Dr. Fonseca, EastEnders fans!) stars as Ramu, a naive singer/dancer, who moves from New Delhi to New York in order to hit the proverbial big time. Through the time-honoured Comedy Misunderstanding, he finds himself unwittingly auditioning for a role in a porn movie (one of the film's funniest scenes), where he meets porn star Heather Graham (typecast again).

Shortly afterwards, Ramu gets a job as a waiter at a society do hosted by Marisa Tomei's hippy-dippy socialite and ends up filling in for the drunken 'mystic guru' hired to entertain the guests. In a panic, he starts repeating Graham's porn star advice and suddenly finds himself feted as 'The Guru of Sex', with all of New York (or at least the new agers) hanging on his every word. Hilarity ensues. Well, okay, maybe not hilarity. But some pretty good laughs, anyway.

The Guru may not be hugely inventive (its Hollywood / Bollywood clash is the most original thing about it) but it has one or two subtle touches that keep it interesting. Chief among these is the way that several of the scenes play with ideas commonly found in porn films, e.g., Mistry poses as 'a plumber' when Graham's fireman boyfriend almost catches them kissing etc.

Appalling Acting Ability

The acting is good - Mistry makes an appealing lead and should hopefully graduate to larger leading roles in the future. Graham is okay too - her appalling acting ability seems to actually work in her favour when called upon to play porn stars.

The supporting cast are better though, including stony-faced character actress Christine Baranski, an under-used Michael (Spinal Tap) McKean as the porn director and Goodness Gracious Me's Sanjeev Bhaskar as Ramu's cousin and room-mate. Unfortunately, Marisa Tomei's character is essentially under-written, so she's not given much to do except whine a lot - it might have been more interesting if she and Graham had swapped roles.

Ultimately, then, The Guru is fluffy and forgettable, but worth a look and will provide a solid night of entertainment if you're tired of spiders, dragons and Things Going Boom.

Film Trailer

The Guru (15)
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Content updated: 21/08/2018 06:39

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