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Get Smart and The Love Guru

Hillary Titley looks for the smart guru's bright side.

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So, is anybody really that surprised that the consensus on Get Smart and The Love Guru is less than underwhelming? I had this feeling heading into the films and, lo-and-behold, I left the theatre with the same opinion. We all know these movies aren't award-winners, but I was terrified at the prospect of writing 600 pontificating words saying as much. I didn't want to ruin my whole day at the pictures so I decided to make my own fun and write down anything amusing during either movie and report back with what I found. Here are the nuggets of useful scrap metal to be found, if you look closely:

The audience at The Love Guru showing last Friday afternoon was small, mostly consisting of men who wear ball caps indoors, the women who love them, and teenagers. There was a crowd highlight when some guy cried out with glee, "Look at his office!" at the sight of Verne Troyer's tiny space that looked like it could be at home on the seventh floor of the Merton Flemmer building from Being John Malkovich. Don't you love it when someone lets you know that they caught a sight gag?

There must have been some late-night ceremony in the bowels of LA's Laugh Factory where Larry Miller passed on the arse-hole torch to David Koechner and deemed him the new go-to comic actor for purposely hateful character characters. In Get Smart, Koechner plays the same lewd prick he was in The Office, while Miller has a little cameo where he starts an argument among the joint chiefs of staff and inspires a particularly clever line: "Gentlemen, when we argue, the terrorists win!"

In Get Smart, Anne Hathaway's Agent 99 supposedly underwent major plastic surgery for a new face after her identity was compromised, leading to some suspense about who she was before the surgery. For a moment, I thought a Crying Game scenario would ensue.

Steve Carell and The Rock (oh, sorry, Dwayne Johnson) kiss in Get Smart. This actually is enjoyable compared to the inevitable smooch Carell and Anne Hathaway share. If Carell and Johnson are Brokeback Mountain, than Carell and Hathaway are Blue Velvet.

The Love Guru comes tagged with the trailer for Burn After Reading, the latest Coen brothers' offering. It looks a little zany but I am still intrigued.I spent my formative years in southern Ontario, where The Love Guru is shot, and am not so convinced it looks much like India or Los Angeles. It is nice to see Toronto playing Toronto, though. The Love Guru's Guru Pitka (Myers) has a method of restoring intimacy labelled "Into-Me-I-See," which reminded me of a season two Sex and the City episode, "The Awful Truth," where a couples' therapist hawks a book called Intimacy: Into-Me-See. The similarities are suspicious but I don't want to accuse Mr. Myers of anything here other than reminding me of another show full of penis jokes that I actually enjoyed watching.

There was a particularly cute and erudite exchange in Get Smart: Alan Arkin: "I loved your detailed essay on existentialism!" Steve Carell: "Sir, I left that part blank." Arkin: "Exactly!"

Have the unfair aesthetic pressures on women in Hollywood caused them to forget basic conventions of dining? In Get Smart, Hathaway spreads butter all over a crusty roll without tearing it open first! She buttered the crust! This isn't a point of pleasure; I just couldn't believe my eyes.

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