This terrible film marks the beginning of the end of Mike Myers' career. He was on fire with the Austin Powers trilogy - a franchise which became as iconic as the James Bond films it were parodying.
At the end of the last film all the loose ends were tied up and the story resolved. So Myers had to come up with another character, and do something with it.
What he came up with was "Guru Pritka", a long-haired neo-spiritual feel-good pop psychologist in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi garb, complete with giant bulbous nose.
The story itself is based on the most ludicrous possible premise: that the Toronto Maple Leafs have somehow made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the L.A. Kings and have a fighting chance of winning it.
They're in this situation because of their new star player, an African American man who is the Tiger Woods of hockey. Singlehandedly, he is able to beat the entire NHL - or at least until his wife leaves him. Then he is literally unable to play properly.
Of course the owner of the team is Jessica Alba, conveniently female - who falls for the Guru and vice versa while he tries to fix the broken marriage and save the team. Because, you see- he's not allowed to remove the chastity belt that his guru put on him until he learns to love himself, and as such he has to live that vow until he proves his own self-worth.
Austin Powers was Benny Hillish at times. A cheeky superspy with an arched eyebrow who could get away with the odd risque comment. But it worked because Powers was actually likeable.
Pritka is not.
He's just one mean-spirited, foul mouthed vulgarian huckstering crowds with trademarked phrases. His only interest in pursuing this case isn't to fix the team or even to help a man who's been dealt a serious blow - but instead to get on Oprah so he has a fighting chance at being considered a more popular guru than Deepak Chopra. His constant sniggering doesn't endear you to him - it just makes him look like a callous narcissist.
He came a LOT under fire for suggesting gurus are like this - but also for his blatant disrespect for Indian culture. Yes, he has a sitar, but he'd rather use it to play 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. He rides on an elephant, or a remote control pillow that moves around like a Roomba. Apparently he comes from a village called "Harenmakeester" (hair on my keester). His own guru is called "Tuggenmapuddha" (tugging my puddha) whose own guru was called "Cheddafromunder" and so forth.
He recycles a few Austin Powers gags by having Verne Troyer show up to be the butt of "short guy" jokes. Mini-me was a tiny clone who gave as good as he got, and because the whole situation was surreal it sort of worked. Troyer in this film plays a hockey coach who is the recipient of verbal abuse from Pritka ("I didn't get your gnome... I mean name. YOU'RE A MIDGET.") but also physical violence, because nothing says "I'm out of ideas and phoning it in" like having a person with dwarfism hit with a hockey puck or launched into the goal by a set of heart-reviving chest paddles. Because dwarfism is a real thing, it's turned into "abusing the person who's different".
We're meant to believe that Jessica Alba can't get a date because all of Toronto hates the fact that her family is rumored to be the curse that's caused the Maple Leafs to avoid winning a Stanley Cup since the 1960s. Which makes her that desperate for a man that when Pritka shows up and eventually starts hitting on her, she doesn't see that as the boorish actions of someone who doesn't understand profesional boundaries, but her last real hope at finding love.
If there's a villain in the piece, it's Justin Timberlake's Jacques "Le Coq" Grande (so named because of the enormity of his genitals). He's the one who seduced away the wife in question with his huge package. Apparently women hate a guy who has issues with his mother because she was abusive so much they'll instead sleep with the star player of the team he's playing against. Timberlake is supposed to be playing a Quebecer, but instead turns in a remarkable impersonation of Peter Sellers as Inspector Cluseau. Understandable though, because the Quebecer accent is very distinctive and tricky for a nonspeaker. But that's the real extent of his villany, by just happening to start a relationship with a woman who has her own agency to abandon one man for the other.
Which makes the real villain of the piece Pritka himself. He advises the player whose career he is trying to fix to at first abandon all hockey violence (which makes him subjected to brutal hit after brutal hit on the ice) and then in the next breath, suggest that instead, he should attack anyone for any reason, which leads him to start beating Jacques Grande's head into the goalposts and then hitting Verne Troyer in the face with a slapshot leading to a two game suspension. Pritka is more interested in playing with cotton candy than his job and by literally rolling the dice to give advice, he costs the Leafs three games out of a series of seven.
Because the Powers series was so iconic, everyone clearly wanted to be part of this. He managed to recruit Jim Gaffigan, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jessica Alba and Justin Timberlake to be in it, as well as Ben Kingsley playing a highly flatulent crosseyed guru whose idea of teaching inner spirituality is to have two men try to slap each other in the face with urine soaked mops. Kingsley IS half-Indian, he has a Gujarati parent. But the star power Myers had at that point was so on point that he was able to get a distinguished character actor like Kingsley to cross his eyes, suggest it was from frequent masturbation, and suggest that Hinduism itself is nothing more than made up bullshit. Thanks Kingsley, great job. I'm sure your family will appreciate it and thank you for your contributions at Thanksgiving.
With that kind of star power, and making the kinds of jokes he made, you'd better win the crowd over and turn out something stellar. Instead, what came out of it was a jumbled mess, full of unlikeable people turning out a cookie-cutter story. Of course Alba's going to fall for Pritka, even though there's NO REASON ON EARTH WHY SHE SHOULD. Of course the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to win the cup, Mike Myers is from a suburb of Toronto.
Did I mention that it all comes down to a penalty shot with one second to go? In order to buy the rattled player time to make that shot against his rival, Pritka borrows a circus elephant and has the elephant he's riding on plow her right in the middle of center ice. Because of course a televised event like game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals wouldn't object to two elephants fucking at center ice.
Yeah, it's THAT kind of movie.
Just when you think his career wouldn't fall any further, he made the very critically panned and obnoxious racist film The Cat in the Hat. This effort turned out to be so hated that Dr. Seuss's estate actually permanently kyboshed any further attempts at live action films featuring his work. Myers would not be seen again in film until he made a documentary about a super-manager of rock bands from the 1970s. And even then, only because he stayed entirely behind the camera.
Ouch, baby. Ouch.