Are there any excuses for a movie like this? The self-proclaimed romantic comedy The Guru doesn't elicit the faintest smile as it plods through a mediocre storyline that's studded with unentertaining musical sequences. We're forced to sit though the story of Ramu (Jimi Mistry), an Indian guy who dreams of a grand life in the United States buy instead gets stuck working in a restaurant once he arrives. In a desperate attempt at stardom, he takes a job on a porn flick and befriends his costar (Heather Graham), who gives him more than enough sage advice on love and sex. He then turns that advice into a career of his own—a fake sex guru for lonely rich women. Unfortunately, if there's anything entertaining here, I don't see it. They lost me when Ramu stripped to his underwear and did Tom Cruise's Risky Business number in Hindi.
Technically speaking, the only feature on the DVD that stands out is the color. Visually, the 1.85:1 anamorphic picture does a decent job of capturing the bright, vibrant colors throughout the film, so it's at least pleasing to look at. Audio-wise, I expected much more from the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks. Then again, it seemed like every other song was a rendition of "The Macarena," and perhaps that doesn't play as well through the subwoofer or surrounds as one might think. Finally, when it comes to the extras, forget it. The disc offers the standard deleted scenes, commentary, photo gallery, and trailers, none of which make up for the film's disappointment.—Ekua Hagan
DVD: The Brady Bunch Movie/A Very Brady Sequel—Paramount
If it seems like virtually every popular TV show from the '50s, '60s, and '70s has been turned into a movie, that's because they have. Of course, the remakes are inevitably nothing more than pale imitations of the originals, churned out by studios that have lots of licensing rights and zero new ideas. Anyone remember the Leave It to Beaver movie? Didn't think so. Two notable exceptions to the string of flops were the successful Brady Bunch films released in the mid-1990s. The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel both manage to capture the charm (and excessive camp) of the original yet still seem fresh and funny.
A great deal of both films' appeal lies in the terrific casting. If you close your eyes, you'll swear that Gary Cole is channeling the voice of the late Robert Reed. Christine Taylor has all of Marcia's mannerisms down pat, and she aces the vocabulary test, as well (all Brady-philes know that the correct pronunciation of "school" is in fact "skew-el"). The filmmakers also had the brilliant idea to set the movies in modern times, with the Bradys themselves still hilariously stuck in full-on '70s mode. The Brady Bunch Movie makes better use of this time paradox, while A Very Brady Sequel ups the sexual innuendo to disturbingly hilarious levels.
Both films look and sound good, with 1.85:1 anamorphic transfers and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The complete lack of any extras means that the movies have to sell themselves. Happily, both The Brady Munch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel do just that. Pork chops and applesauce, anyone?—Gary Maxwell