Major US newspapers have panned controversial film The Love Guru for its crude humour that falls flat, while the Indian American media and Hindu groups have clarified that the just-released Mike Myers comedy is not offensive to Hindus as claimed by some religious activists.
According to the New York Times, the film about an American self-help guru raised in India, who solves celebrities' romantic problems and wants to appear on "Oprah" as Deepak Chopra did, is "downright anti-funny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again".
A.O. Scott, the New York Times critic, says he is not opposed to infantile, regressive, scatological humour, but it has to be done well.
The San Francisco Chronicle reviewer wondered why a supposed wise man or someone who wants to be perceived as a wise man would be going around "relentlessly making potty jokes, pee-pee jokes, poopy jokes and stinky jokes. 'The Love Guru' remains a comic vehicle, a construct, who never takes on the dimensions of a fleshed-out character".
The critic, Mick La Salle, said the film "is a disappointment, but it's not a disaster, and that's at least something".
He argued that Myers' is a high-wire act, risking embarrassment and humiliation every minute in the movie. "But even when these surprising moments aren't exactly funny, they're not lazy. They're energetic."
Michel W. Potts, who reviewed the film for IndiaWest - an ethnic Indian publication on the West Coast, wrote: "Judging from the predominantly college-age crowd that roared with laughter throughout a screening, Mike Myers' latest comedy film will certainly be a hit at the box office, despite the objections of Rajan Zed."
Hindu leader Zed had led a campaign against the film for "lampooning" Hindus. Some Hindu groups had voiced concern, based on the film's promotional trailers and posters, that the raunchy comedy would denigrate the faith.
After watching the film, the Hare Krishna movement in the US called upon Hindus to take the comedy with a pinch of salt and a good sense of humour.
"We find it to be a typical satire that does not intend to hurt religious sentiments," the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), North America chapter, said in a statement.