The Guru (15)

Review by Simon Bell

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Feature commentaries with Jimi Mistry, director Daisy Von Sherler Mayer and writer Tracey Jackson
Deleted scenes; The music video Sugarbabes, 'Round Round'; A photo gallery and trailers.

CONSUMED with all the need to be famous of a Pop Idol contestant, young Indian dance instructor Ramu Gupta (party piece: the macarena) follows up a promise of a penthouse and a mean set of wheels - not to mention all the Baywatch babes you could eat - and swaps Delhi for downtown Manhattan and a crack at the footlights on Broadway.

But, alas, the step up proves more climbing magic rope than riding magic carpet as Ramu ends up serving pissed City boys in an Indian restaurant. Then his first shot at the big time comes in the form of an audition for Ramrod Productions.

Unwittingly winding up on the set of a porn movie, Ramu is unable to get it up at the crucial moment. He then has to rely on his co-star, Sharonna (Heather Graham - always able to turn it on as a skin flick veteran), to help him find his creative mojo.

In the meantime, Ramu works his way into the hearts and minds of millions of sex-starved couples as a Mystical Guru of Sex - relying solely on the wise words of an unsuspecting Sharonna for his enigmatic mantra - via unbalanced, therapy-crazed New York socialite Lexi (Marisa Tomei).

Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s fish-out-of-water yarn is an uplifting comedy/song and dance spectacular/romantic crowd-pleaser - but there’s nothing new about it, other than it’s the first time for Anglo-Asian crossover material to satisfy those with a taste for the East State-side.

All the correct feelgood ingredients are present and accounted for (this is, after all, from the same people that gave us Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones) and it does hit the mark with its flavour of the month Bollywood content, notably a musical set piece of an Indian take on Grease’s You’re The One That I Want. (The Producers obviously glad that the Bollybubble has still yet to burst.)

Jimi Mistry, in the title role, shows the same comic credentials that made him so right for his part in East is East and there’s some good support form Ramu’s roomies, including Sanjeev Bhaskar. A moment of note is an argument over the absence of anyone Indian from the world of American celebrity. "There’s that shopkeeper in The Simpsons," proffers one. "But he’s just a cartoon character," protests another.

It’s all about cosy laughs and is as undemanding as they come. But even if the ending is too sickly sweet, an earlier sighting of Marsia Tomei in French knickers is the perfect antidote.