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  • 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 or two.

    The Guru is nothing monumental. But it's nothing bad. It's worth putting a smile on your face but is ultimately a little forgettable.

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