The Guru

The Guru


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Someone had an idea. Let's mix Bollywood with John Travolta.

Ramu (Jimi Mistry) lives in Bombay and dreams of Grease. All he wants to do is go to America and dance with Olivia Newton-John. He goes to America and becomes a waiter, instead. He makes friends with a porn star (Heather Graham) and sleeps with a rich girl (Marisa Tomei).

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The porn star tells him about sensuality and the positive aspects of sex. They don't do it. She's engaged to a dumb hunky Catholic who thinks she's a teacher. The rich girl is spiritually confused and talks like a New Age groupie. With her connections and his new-found knowledge, he recreates himself as the Guru of Sex.

His dreams come true. His face is on a hoarding above Times Square. But he's not happy. He knows he's a fraud. He loves the porn star, who is about to marry the dumb hunk.

Guess what? No, don't. The movie might have worked if the script was less coy and the director more imaginative.

The tart with a heart has been transformed into an X-rated actress who enjoys her job. Graham has to simulate arousal from a dry start, a bit like Meg Ryan in the diner faking an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally, except The Guru is not in that league.

Tomei has been searching, ever since she won an Oscar for My Cousin Vinnie, for another decent role. This is the worst she's come up with. The rich girl is stupid, sad and hardly there. It is not her fault that satirical opportunities have been missed.

Mistri was the wild one in East Is East. In many ways, this is his second big break. He deserves better.

The humour is so crass, to call it dumbed-down would be expansive. Even Ramu's Indian buddies in New York are reduced to cliche.

Romantic comedy is hard to pull off. You can never tell until you try. Someone had an idea. Pity they followed through.

Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2002
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Dance instructor from Bombay goes to New York, meets a porn star and become a sex guru.
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Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Writer: Tracey Jackson

Starring: Heather Graham, Jimi Mistry, Marisa Tomei, Christine Baranski, Michael McKean, Malachy McCourt, Rob Morrow, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ajay Naidu, Raahul Singh

Year: 2001

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2002

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