An engaging cross-cultural comedy, "The Guru" stirs together Bollywood and Hollywood, satire and romance, to create an appealing masala dish of a movie.
Appropriately, given the movie's hybrid nature, the story hinges on the mutual fantasies and misconceptions held about each other by both East and West.
Ramu, the film's hero, winningly played by British actor Jimi Mistry, is a young Indian dance instructor who heads for New York with dreams of finding fame and fortune but ends up cast in a porn movie.
On set, however, he's a flop. Or rather, he's floppy when the director is expecting him to stand firm. Despondent, he turns to co-star Sharonna (Graham) for guidance.
Her philosophical advice on porn acting proves unexpectedly useful when he subsequently finds himself stepping into the shoes of a drunken guru at a swanky Upper East Side soirée. He recycles her tips and the audience lap up his words of wisdom.
Before long, he has been taken up by the party's host, Marisa Tomei's fad-crazy Lexi, and is being promoted across Manhattan as an inspirational guru of sex.
Mistry shines as the film's hero and he's well partnered by Graham, here returning to "Boogie Nights" territory. She has great fun with the role of the triple X-rated star whose devout fire-fighter boyfriend believes she's actually a schoolteacher ("He thinks I'm a PG-13 girl," she laments).
Tomei is a little wasted in an underwritten part, but there are droll cameos from Christine Baranski as Lexi's mom and "Spinal Tap" star Michael McKean as a porn director with such titles as 'The Prime of Miss Jean's Booty' and 'Good Will Humping' to his credit.
Daisy von Scherler Mayer's direction is sometimes a tad over-emphatic, but her handling of the movie's pastiche Bollywood dance sequences is a joy.