Surely you have heard that we are blessed with not one but two horribly unfunny "comedies" opening this weekend: Mike Myers' The Love Guru and Get Smart starring Steve Carell. Myers, taking a cue from Adam Sandler earlier this year, has decided to put out the comeback comedy that absolutely no one was asking him to make. Some Hindu leaders have urged for a boycott of the film because it is insulting to the Hindu faith, but something tells us that Hindu leaders don't need to work that hard to scare away audiences from this film: Myers goes above and beyond to make this movie unappealing to anyone with the physical ability to laugh. And then there is Get Smart, a film remake of the classic '60s TV show. Although the film stars a cast more lovable than The Love Guru (no one can out-asshole a film that combines Myers, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Alba) the film's jokes are destined to flop. Did we mention it was an uncalled-for remake? So which movie sucks more? The reviews, after the jump
The Love Guru:
The A.V. Club:
Pop-culture riffing, winking double entendres, scatological humor, and silly names aren't just the foremost weapons in Myers' comic arsenal, they're all he's got. Myers combines his love of references, silly names, and mindless repetition by having his guru use "Mariska Hargitay" as a greeting/mantra. The first time it's employed, it's merely unfunny; by the 13th or 40th time, it's almost hypnotic in its awfulness. Then again, given Myers' love of the tried-and-true, maybe Guru's compulsive comic recycling and endless repetition are intentional.
…Which might sum up The Love Guru in its entirety but only at the risk of grievously understating the movie's awfulness. A whole new vocabulary seems to be required. To say that the movie is not funny is merely to affirm the obvious. The word "unfunny" surely applies to Mr. Myers's obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, The Love Guru is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.
Myers has made some funny movies, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents. Every reference to a human sex organ or process of defecation is not automatically funny simply because it is naughty, but Myers seems to labor under that delusion.
The A.V. Club:
For some unfathomable reason, Adams' original Max has been reconceived here as a considerably more competent operative, a brilliant analyst who can also kick a little ass when 99 isn't rescuing him from various scrapes. How is that funny? Carell will do anything for a laugh, and as with his character in The Office, Max's obliviousness to other people and to his own ineptitude plays to Carell's strengths. But Get Smart is too slick by half, and there's little in the script to support the star but a series of warmed-over spy games punctuated by pain humor and strained banter with Hathaway's snippy, scolding 99. In updating a beloved TV show, the filmmakers have gone out of their way to excise everything that was fun about it.
Missed it by that much. Actually, the new version of Get Smart misses by a fair-size margin. It's too bad. It's just trying to give us a good time at the retroplex. Even if you're 14 and you've never heard Irving Szathmary's classic deedley-deedley-deedley-deedley theme before, it's enough to make you smile. This is all any of these TV-to-screen comedies are after: a few laughs. Who knows? Get Smart, starring Steve Carell in the role originated by Don Adams (though initially offered to Tom Poston!), may well turn into a summer hit of the "well, it's good enough" variety.
Sadly, gags fall flat, one-liners lack pizzazz and the leads generate little chemistry. Sure, Carell is cute, and Hathaway looks sassy in multizippered leather jackets and slit-to-there gowns, but without snappier banter and greater sexual tension, their pseudo romance (even involving a flashback montage, ugh!) feels forced… Those seeking more entertaining fare would be, well, smart to look elsewhere.
Verdict: Oh hell, you knew The Love Guru was going to suck more than Get Smart! It stars Justin Timberlake in a comedic role! Get Smart may stink, but at least it has Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway to rescue it from being a complete mess.
Maybe if you are in the mood for some nostalgic movie-going you could go see Kit Kittredge: An American Girl instead.