Look, it’s bad enough for the career of Mike Myers that The Love Guru lost the weekend box-office battle to Steve Carell and Get Smart, but look at these numbers: Get Smart took in $39.1 million to Love Guru‘s $14 million. That’s a beating, mister. What makes it worse for Myers is that Guru wasn’t even a close second to Smart. Kung Fu Panda, the animated kids flick that won’t die, took the No. 2 spot with $21.7 million, amassing $155.6 million in just three weeks. And No. 3 went to The Incredible Hulk with $21.6 million, repping a huge slip of 61percent from its debut. There is some solace there since Ang Lee’s Hulk in 2003 dropped 70 percent in its second week. But face it Hulk fanboys, your giant green rage hero is on the wane. At least Guru beat The Happening, which plunged 67 percent to gross $10 million and take the No. 5 spot before hitting the fast track to DVD oblivion. Make no mistake, the story here is Mike Myers. Is the failure of The Love Guru merely a slip or a sign of dire things to come?
I’m betting on Myers. The guy is talented. Except for doing voices in the animated Shrek trilogy, Myers has been off screen for five years. And that movie was The Cat in the Hat, which sold tickets to kiddies, but pissed off everyone else, especially critics. Myers’ fellow Canadian Jim Carrey had the same effect on me with How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But Carrey rallied with Bruce Almighty and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind before sinking again with The Number 23. What’s to become of Myers? You can tell by the way he promoted The Love Guru — using the hardsell hammer on American Idol and the MTV Movie Awards — that he was pushing damaged goods.
And yet Myers has a talent that is unmistakble. You see it in Wayne’s World, in Austin Powers and in his rare dramatic performance as disco casuality Steve Rubbel in the misbegotten 54. Mostly, you look at Myers on old SNl skits and see a gifted comic capable of so more than what he’s doing.
What Myers needs is a kick in the ass from someone who knows what he’s capable of and can push him to it. That someone, of course, is Myers himself. Will Myers take the next step, past a fourth and fifth Shrek, and save his career before audiences kick him under the bus? There is talk he will play Keith Moon in a biopic about the late Who drummer. Does Myers have the stuff to still surprise us? What are the Myers moments that deserve remembering? Discuss amongst yourselves.