Combining 'Carry On' style sex comedy with Bollywood themes, new British comedy "The Guru" feels more like a standard US studio product than the offbeat styles of the far superior "Bend it Like Beckham" and "About a Boy" that we've come to know. That's not to say "The Guru" isn't funny, there are several good chortles in this from the porn title names to some good moments with a rich snootish family getting into the spirit of nudity and sex. However they're not enough to carry this 95 minute piece of fluff which sadly feels not only padded but rather stifled and restrained in its subject matter.
The performances though are not a downside - rather their lack of characterisation is. Mistry's wincing and whining do become annoying but for the most part he pulls off the requirement of being a guy whose in way over his head and struggles with a complex web of lies just to keep up. Heather Graham on the other hand is a treat - the actress seems to be relishing the part as well as knowing not to take things too seriously even if she must play it straight the entire time. She's far better than Marisa Tomei whose utterly wasted, whilst Michael McKean does well with an ultimately disappointing part.
There's a general sweet message to the film but its lost amidst all too many homages to "Grease" and limp wristed pot shots at the world of quick fast answers. Its not particularly sexy or edgy despite its desire to be, rather its a more conventional and light-hearted comedy which even the likes of Meg Ryan or Freddie Prinze would approve of. The score and visual look of the film exceed what you would expect for a film on a budget like this and give it a classier feel than it deserves, as does the quite fast pacing and excellent use of location. Guru never breaks any new boundaries, but does well at playing it safe.