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Notes from the back row

Comic Sutra

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Two big name comedians are releasing films on the same day this week and the Hollywood studios are hoping this will be a clash of titans, so get down to the Village 8 and “Lets get ready to rumble!!!!”

Not really, they both kind of suck.

In the red corner, wearing a stupid beard is The Love Guru starring Mike Myers as Guru Pitka — an American-raised-in-India (his parents were Missionaries, before that they were Doggie-Stylists) and self-help guru in the Deepak Chopra vein. In fact Pitka and Chopra were apparently old school chums and the former is jealous of Chopra’s success. Pitka mostly dispenses acronym-laced masturbation, dick and feces humour but at some point the hot young owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jessica Alba) hires him to work his enlightened, self-help guru magic with their star player, who’s been sucking since his wife left him for a French-Canadian goalie with a huge ‘le coq” (Justin Timberlake).

Toss in some romantic interest crap, token revelations about finding your true self and doing things for the right reasons, and yadda yadda, blah blah. The story isn’t much, the trailer makes the movie look terrible, and why is Myers still relying on Verne Troyer (Mini Me plays the coach of the Leafs) and midget jokes for laughs? That shit’s old news. I like Justin Timberlake as an actor though, and here he proves that at least he doesn’t give a crap what people think of him.

Myers infuses the flick with lots of clever puns and wordplay but this stuff would have been better if taken further into an R-rated comedy, not PG-13 as is the case here. Overall, The Love Guru is pretty one-note and self-congratulating (Myers actually laughs at most of his own jokes) and while there are a few chuckles in there this is nowhere near the knockout punch Myers’ struggling career needs.

In the blue corner, wearing a suit and stupid look on his face, is Maxwell Smart, as the great ‘70s TV super-comedy spy gets an update with Get Smart — another PG-13 attempt that should have been better than it is.

Steve Carell plays Smart, who starts as a secret service paper pusher with dreams of being a real super agent. After some training with the cocky Agent 36 (the Rock) and meeting the hot-ass, high-kicking Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), Smart inevitably gets his chance and is sent into the field, Chechnya this time, to track some stolen nuclear crap save the world, and dance.

The problem with this update is that while it makes playful nods to the TV show it doesn’t stay true enough to the playful dumbness of the original, nor does it put an entirely fresh spin on things. It kind of floats in the middle, although the action is decent, Anne Hathaway has such nice skin, and Carell delivers, sort of.

All in all, neither Get Smart nor The Love Guru is the comedic heavyweight we were looking for. The viewer is the true loser in this rumble.

The internet movie of the week is Power Play, a dramatically narrated documentary about how our provincial government is selling B.C.’s river systems (including the Ashlu) to private American companies so they can build power stations on our land and sell us back our own resources at whatever price they want. It’s traitorous, ridiculous and it will piss you off, so watch Power Plant and then write a letter or chain yourself to a power plant or something (rubber boots please). Time to get active. Watch the movie at http://ashlu.info/video/bcrivers.html, and also check our http://ourrivers.ca.

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