The Guru

It's better than it sounds. Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry), a dance teacher in Delhi, seeks his fortune in Manhattan. Since he sees himself as the Indian John Travolta, Ramu is frustrated by living poor in Queens and waiting tables. By accident, he's cast in a porn flick starring Sharonna (Heather Graham). The director (the invaluable Michael McKean) is horrified when Ramu can't get it up. "We have no wood!" he yells. Sharonna offers New Age advice, which Ramu steals as a party trick to entertain Gotham socialites. Soon he's being hailed as the guru of sex.

Screenwriter Tracey Jackson lays on way too much plot, which the light touch of director Daisy von Scherler Mayer (Party Girl) goes a long way to alleviate, especially in the fun musical numbers. Mistry is a find; his scenes with Marisa Tomei as a spoiled heiress exude an unforced sexiness. But Graham, back in the porn territory she aced in Boogie Nights, steals the show. In the winter doldrums, you don't kick at a movie that puts a smile on your face.

From The Archives Issue 915: February 6, 2003