The Guru (2003): **½
Directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer
There are some cute moments in The Guru. Some fond chuckles, some
scenes that you recognize as being funny. It is not by any means
drop-dead, roll around on the ground funny. There are maybe a couple
of big laughs in the whole thing, but it is by no means bad. It
is a light-hearted, sweet comedy about illegal immigrants and the
porn film industry.
Never thought I'd write that previous sentence. Anyway, the film
is about Ramu, a young Indian (from India) dance teacher who comes
to America the same reason most people do: they think they're gonna
be able to instantly become fabulously wealthy. Ramu has aspirations
of being a big film star and driving fancy cars. Instead he lives
in an apartment with a handful of other immigrants and works at
an "authentic" Indian restaurant where the American customers
are convinced they know more about Indian cuisine than he does.
Eventually he gets a tryout at a movie studio. Little does he know
it's for a porno. In fact he doesn't know it's for a porno until
the flapper tries to get him up before his scene. In completely
failing when it comes time to film the scene he meets Heather Graham
as Sharonna, who gives him a little bit of advice.
Well, since he can't cut it in pornos, Ramu goes back to work for
the restaurant, which is catering a big party for a wealthy rich
white girl (Marisa Tomei as Lexi) who has aspirations of spirituality.
When the party "guru" passes out, Ramu takes his place
and ends up blurting out the advice that Sharonna gave him. He's
a big hit, so he and Lexi hook up and decide to promote him as a
real spiritual guru (which she actually thinks he is). So Ramu makes
frequent trips back to Sharonna to get more advice (which she thinks
is to make him better at making pornos), which he turns around and
spouts to rich white folks for thousands of dollars.
I know I don't usually spend so much time on plot synopses when
I review movies, but there really isn't all that much to this movie
other than what happens. The actors are all endearing, and Tomei
is especially fun to watch as the poor little rich girl who thinks
she's a lot smarter and deeper than she actually is. The plot machinations
all come out like clockwork, but it's competently done and there
are no plot holes or unresolved threads. The jokes are worth a chuckle
The Guru is nothing monumental. But it's nothing bad.
It's worth putting a smile on your face but is ultimately a little
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