The Guru (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is a very gimmicky premise-laden romantic comedy.

A youing Indian dance instructor moves to the United States to pursue his dream of show business success. The concatenation of events leads him first to porno movies, where he meets a porn star who has developed a philosophy of inner peace and integrated sexuality which helps her accept her shady career. The Indian guy ends up using this philosophy to become a popular self-help guru who specializes in sexuality.

During the course of the film, people constantly break into elaborate dance numbers, following the conventions of the Old Hollywood and Bollywood musicals. The colorful dances are pretty much the sole source of amusement. They are some great dance routines, but unless you are really into colorful 70s dance numbers (ala "Grease") and their Indian equivalents, heavily spiced with a romantic relationship between Heather Graham and an Indian guy, you may want to find another way to pass the time. In addition to the inherent problems with suspension of disbelief caused by the endless musical numbers, and the fact that neither the situations nor the characters are remotely credible, this film is poorly acted and almost completely unfunny.

To get the flavor of the film, imagine My Big Fat Greek Wedding rewritten for Indian people, with additional humor provided by Pauly Shore, with Heather Graham in the female lead, and with a jillion spontaneous dance numbers.

Some people liked the film, especially women. Given that women usually like colorful costumes and dance numbers better than men do, it is no surprise that the film has chick-flick-type scores in its IMDb ratings. (5.8 from men, 6.6 from women, highest scores from women over 45)


There are two anonymous topless women. Heather Graham appears in sexy porno-style underwear, and Marisa Tomei is seen from the rear in panties which cover virtually nothing.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic transfer

  • two commentary tracks

  • deleted scenes

The only thing I really enjoyed in the film was the by-play between Marisa Tomei and Christine Baranski as a feuding mother-daughter in a rich society family. I have never really thought of Tomei as a hot number, but she was really quite sexy and she displayed a remarkably nice booty which was barely covered by see-through panties.

It is a full-featured DVD, with two full-length commentary tracks and some deleted scenes.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Ebert and Roeper - two thumbs down, Berardinelli 1/4, BBC 3/5, NY Post 2/4.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.8/10. The top IMDb voters evaluate it even more harshly, at 5.1/10
  • Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $11 million for production, and was a low-level hit in the UK, with a gross of about $10 million there. It grossed only $3 million in the USA, never reaching as many as 100 screens.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a C. Judging from the reviews, it was adequate, pleasant fare for fans of musicals. I never got disgusted or bored enough to reach for the remote, but I never really enjoyed it either. Watch it if you like choreography. Avoid it if not, because the dances are essentially the whole show. The rest is at the Pauly Shore level.

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