Has the Downfall of Mike Myers Truly Begun?

June 22, 2008
Source: Fantasy Moguls

Mike Myers

If you went down to your local movie theater today and asked any average moviegoer who they thought was funnier, either Adam Sandler or Mike Myers, the answer you would hear most often might shock you. Sandler's summer flick, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, was a flop itself with a box office revenue of only $80 million so far. That should've give away the answer already: Mike Myers. But the earnings have start to trickle in for Myer's The Love Guru and it doesn't sound good (or maybe it does). Guru only made a pitiful $5.4 million on Friday and is expected to hit $15 million by the end of the weekend, nearly 50% less than Zohan's opening weekend. However, I'm not here to talk about actual earnings and the revenue potential of Myers, I'm here to talk about the decline of a comedian who once was funny.

Back in February I posed a similar question after Semi-Pro failed at the box office: Is Will Ferrell Burning Out? In retrospect, I realized that was more of a talking point than an actual theory, primarily because Semi-Pro was a problem itself. Ferrell's Step Brothers is going to hit big this summer, that's pretty much guaranteed. It may not blow the roof off of the box office like Superbad, but it will at least be a much stronger performer than both Zohan and Guru. And that answers Ferrell's question - he'll be good as long as he's in the right movies. Myers, on the other hand, isn't working like this. The Love Guru is his first on-screen performance since 2003 and it's downright atrocious. And now that it flopped financially, it's time to ask: is this the start of his downfall?

Mike MyersThere was a time, back in the early 90s, where Mike Myers was a comedian with true talent. Wayne's World and So I Married an Axe Murderer both became instant classics and set a precedent for Myers. In 1997, he debuted his greatest character - Austin Powers. Then again in 1999, he followed it up with a great sequel, titled The Spy Who Shagged Me. But when the world celebrated a new millennium, it seemed like Myers started to lose his edge. He did a great job voicing Shrek in 2001, but 2002's Goldmember had lost that magical disco spirit that made the first two Austin Powers movies so great. And in 2003 he hit a new low - The Cat in the Hat. Now five years later he "returns" and it's even worse than before. With a solid six years of evidence, I can certainly say it seems like Myers is already picking up speed in his downfall.

I've already shared my utter distaste for The Love Guru in a previous article and thankfully it seems the world has come to agree with me as well. The film has a measly 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the only positive reviews coming from a few no-name critics, and barely made enough money to even make a dent in its rumored $62 million budget. I guess this goes to prove that great marketing means nothing if the movie looks like complete shit. I have no remorse for Myers and The Love Guru and can smile when I say that I'm happy to see him fade away. His comedy has become so over-used and washed up, that I'd rather pay money to watch So I Married an Axe Murderer again than see The Love Guru for free.

So to tie this all together with the opening question, I'm amazed to hear that people actually prefer Myers over Sandler when he's already six years into his downfall. What's so great about his comedy that makes him loved by so many people? Or is it simply his adherence to such iconic characters like Austin Powers and Wayne Campbell that they've come to appreciate him for what he once was and not what he currently is - a comic on his way out the door. I really hate to speak so negatively about a comedian that I at one time did love myself, at least back when I was younger and when Austin Powers was funnier. Whereas I might have been wrong about Will Ferrell, I don't have any doubts about Myers this time. So let's ask the audience again… Has the downfall of Mike Myers truly begun?

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  • Darrin
    well look on the bright side, atleast The Incredible Hulk could make it big no. 1 for a second week.
  • Spider
    I don't believe that the downfall of Mike Myers has started. The reviews for this flick suggested a stupid-funny(or stupid-stupid) movie, with a not very interesting lead character. Shades of an Austin Powers wannabe lingered in many minds, including mine. I'm sure we'll all be there in line if we get another Austin Powers flick. By the way, I saw "Get Smart" and it was good!
  • Garrett.king
    I was pretty sure that from Elf onwards, all were the worst of Will Ferrell. But he's done one film since Elf that I've actually liked, and that was Stranger Than Fiction. I have to say, on the Myers side of the argument..I preferred Goldmember over the other Austin Powers movies. I loved the opening to it and it was funnier. anyone who's read my thoughts on Myers on the other page about The Love Guru knows what I think. Poor Myers is done.
  • Pickle
    Funny! The same sentiment was echoed when Jim Carrey's "Fun With Dick and Jane" under performed. The best thing about Hollywood is that with the right script and great decision-making from the actors they can skyrocket to a higher level of super stardom at any given time! Best example: Robert Downey Jr.
  • Thoughtless
    Darrin: Not happening. Estimates show Get Smart debuting at $39 million. Besides that fact, The Incredible Hulk is going to drop 61% to around $21 million. Hell, Kung Fu Panda is tracking at that same amount so TIH may actually fall down to third with KFP edging it out with a 35.4% or better drop. Basically the best TIH can do is second, and the worse is third. As for the article itself. Calling Zohan a flop is a stretch in itself. Sure, it has a higher budget than most Sandler movies, but box office wise it will meet and exceed that number even if by a tiny amount (Not counting marketing/promotional). Overseas wise and DVD sales will probably determine if it is a flop. However, I don't think it is a success. More like a below average performance. A very below average performance. Prince Caspian is a flop. The Love Guru is a flop. These are movies that won't make their budget in the states (overseas Caspian will do it). Then again, the use of the word if 'flop' is relative, I use it to label movies that performed abysmal. I don't think Mike Myers is done. Is he in a downfall? No doubt about it. But this is hollywood and a turn around is always possible; Eddie Murphy's late career. I don't think it is Myers himself, acting wise, that is doing this fall, but it is the projects he is attached to. Creativity wise, he has been in some movies that range from god awful (Cat in the Hat, Love Guru) to completely lackluster (Goldmember). For me, as a fan, I am just tired of the same thing. Myers isn't bringing anything new to the table. It feels like he is beating the same drum over and over. What Myers needs to do is take a break and tackle something new. Maybe a drama. Maybe a different brand of comedy that doesn't involve toilet or slapstick humor. Maybe he needs to try something new. Knocked Up and Superbad proved that you don't need a mega a-list star and a giant budget to make a good, entertaining and successful comedy. What Pickle said earlier is right. The right script and good decision making can easily turn around a career. But if you keep sticking to the same thing you'll end up a joke.
  • Alex
    Shouldn't a downfall at least have two or more movie included. It's one movie. I'm not defending him. The movie blows hard. But let's give him another chance to prove us right and bring out another flop. But something tells me with "The Crap Guru" having such low marks, a 4th Austin Powers will be on its way. And Verne Troyer should thank God for that because that's the only time he ever gets work. Personally, I'd rather have another Wayne's World, but I'm sentimental like that.
  • Devon Shaw
    In short: Yes. The dirty secret is, Mike Myers hasn't been funny in quite a long time... the first Austin Powers movie was like striking gold, but midway through the second movie it was pretty obvious he was just milking it for as long as it'd go. From a personal standpoint, I haven't laughed at Myers since Wayne's World... but Axe Murderer was enjoyable for what it was. What this really is, is yet another SNL actor living on borrowed time. As the Queen Victoria loved to say, "We are not amused."
  • Reverend
    Eddie Murphy's late career has been terrible, and it seems to be getting worse (Meet Dave? Are you kidding me?). Probably not even the return of Beverly Hills Cop will revitalize his career, although it's his best shot. I think Mr. Billington is right- Mike Myers is done. Yeah, he might continue making movies, but he's run out of material. I certainly don't think I'll watch any more new Myers movies, not even a return of Austin Powers. Goldmember killed that character. Although I think you make a good point, Thoughtless. If Myers is smart enough to try something completely different, I might come back for him. I may be alone here, but I thought Sandler was best in Punch Drunk Love.
  • "Begun"?
  • Marqwest
    Why was this article not written after Shrek the Third...was it not obvious from the trailer for "The Love Guru" that this was happening (no pun intended). Btw Sandler delivered an amazing performance in "Reign Over Me" as well.
  • Conrad
    In response to #1, what the hell does bringing up the Hulk have anything to do with the question: "Has the downfall of Mike Myers begun?" have to do with anything???? Especially for the first person writing on this forum, that's a waste. Number 10, "Reign Over Me" was a dramatic performance by Adam Sandler, far from comedic. The Shrek movies got worse as they went along. I didn't even bother to see Shrek 3 cause it looks like absolute garbage - so I hear, it was. "Cat in the Hat" - yep garbage too. "Goldmember" had a great opening sequence, great cameo w/Speilberg, Cruise, Spacey, Paltrow and DeVito. But the rest of the movie was pretty lame. Not to mention the ending! - Truly a disappointment. I think its time for Myers to either come up with better ideas or team up with someone else i.e. Will Ferrell and make a hit. Cause "The Love Guru" looked like garbage from the first time I heard of it, let alone the first time I saw the trailer. - Considering Alex of FS.net's review and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes tells me I was right. Couple more things: "Punch-Drunk Love" and "Stranger Than Fiction" were not your traditional comedies - they both fell into the satire genre.
  • I wouldn't exactly call $80 million a flop, especially since Zohan has broke even.
  • Thoughtless
    Actually, looking back, I want to retract my mention of Eddie Murphy (And him turning his career around). For some reason I was under the assumption that Eddie had something else going for him aside from the Dreamgirls fame. But looking at the list of movies he made in recent years, if you take out the Shrek series, it is just horrible. Norbit? The Haunted Mansion? Daddy Day Care? I Spy? I confused a sudden blip of good fortume (Dreamgirls) with a turn around. Also, I agree with Reverend. Meet Dave? Who comes up with this stuff? Seriously.
  • To make a comment on the Mike Myers' question. He hasn't really had that huge of a film career to truly say he's having a downfall. Love Guru was only like Myers' eighth staring role (not couting Shrek) and five of those roles were either the Wayne's World or Austin Powers movies. Myers' problem may be more that he insists on creating his own characters than staring in films written by other people.
  • Ricky
    Meyers has a limited amount of ammunition in his comedic arsenal, which means he'll only be appealing in times when his sort of comedy is big. When Waynes World and Austin Powers were out slapstick was pretty big, and so was toilet humor. If you released "Something About Mary" today, I don't think it would do as well as it did back in the 90's. Meyers isn't necessarily washed up, he's just pushing a type of crap that isn't going to float in todays comedic waters. The bar has been raised beyond the Austin Powers/Something About Mary standard for dirty humor, so the shock appeal of they're humor flops, leaving only the wit to survive on it's own....and when the film is light on real humor you get the Love Guru, and movies like The Heartbreak Kid (which I think would have been a hit in the late 90's). What seems pretty big right now are ensemble comedies. The Apatow gang are dominating because they stick together, and the same can be said for Will Ferrel and his crew, Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson and company, and most importantly to this discussion Adam Sandler. He has really grown as an actor, but he's done it while still working with the same group of guys. You have to admit we all look forward to seeing Rob Schneider, and Nick Swardson in the Adam Sandler movies (and Swardson is in some Will Ferrel movies too) Even Jon Heder, Napolean Dynamite has had some staying power by latching on to some of these guys. That guys career should be done, but he's still around not because he stars in great movies, but because he sticks with good comedic actors.... who on their own would make terrible movies (see Rob Schnieder films), but as a collective group do really well. Meyers, and Eddie Murphy for that matter would do themselves a favor by working in a good ensemble comedy. I think they're both kind of egotistical, and want to be the star. Unfortunately I don't think any comedic actor has staying power as a star. Jim Carrey can't even do it anymore, and he used to be off the charts funny. Now he's just average, and I expect the same fate for Steve Carrel eventually. He's riding high right now, and he'll probably stick around in some capacity because he's been a part of the Apatow/Will Ferrel groups in the past, but as a lead he'll fade. So to answer the question, yes Meyers is past his prime, but that doesn't mean he's washed up. It just means he needs to fall in line and work on projects written by other people, and with other comedic actors who have in their own right fallen a bit. The ensemble cast is like giant net that seems to be launching and catching comedic actors as they rise and fall. I don't want to see Meyers go out on the bottom, so hopefully he finds an ensemble comedy to shine in.
  • interloper
    How did they spend 62 million on this piece of trash? Not the same genre, but for example, Serenity was filmed for 44 Mil, and is beyond infinitely better than Guru will ever be. I will always love Waynes World and Austin Powers, but he does seem to be losing it bad.
  • Reverend
    @11, nobody was claiming that Punch Drunk Love, Stranger than Fiction, or Reign Over Me were traditional comedies. In fact, that was mostly the point. These actors can perform at a higher level when they are not in one of their traditional roles or movie styles.
  • Movie Lover
    I am one that never got the Austin Powers thing. I saw the first one in the theater. Barely laughed. There were painful, long moments of silence when really godawful jokes were made. So I never saw another one. I am not surprised this movie tanked. If Austin Powers was a D in my book, I'm guessing this was beyond F. Mike Myers should stick to Shrek voiceovers.
  • Jeff
    Yes, in fact his downfall is about halfway through I'd say.
  • Tom
    Axe Murderer an "instant classic"? Is this a joke?
  • Brett
    I am always amazed that people love to put he boot in and see other people fail. I intend to see The Love Guru. I think Myers is just giving people what they want and expect from him.
  • crabby
    Yes. Mike Myers has "jumped the shark"
  • You can give people what they want and do new things at the same time. Maybe this is the biggest fault in having a movie with a singular vision.
  • Apart from hearing that Myers is an absolute ass on the set, I think the problem stems from the fact that everyone thinks he's some sort of comedic genius and therefore no one around him dares say the word "No". "No, that's not funny." "No, that script sucks." "No, I won't give you $15 million to star in that film." "No, I won't go get you another latte because that one is not 135 degrees exactly." Myers is, at best, a B level skit actor being treated like an A level comedian. He should allow others to write his scripts, and immerse himself in the various characters that they create for him that he excels at so well. Comedic genius should be reserved for the like of George Carlin, who passed away last night.
  • It's hard to talk someone down if they made one of the most quoted / referenced franchises in the last decade. I think he just ran out of accents; he used them all in the last Austin Powers.
  • I think that the downfall of Mike Myers has been going on for a bit. I dont think that Shrek was too great for his career. While they made a lot of money it is important for an actor to have more face time in front of an audience in my opinion instead of just voice work. All I can say is that We have a piper down, We have a piper down!!!
  • Fatty
    There are so many things wrong with this article. 1. Zohan is not a flop. $80 million after 3 weekends is what all Sandler's movies do. It'll end up in the low hundreds domestic, like all the others. 2. Step Brothers is not going to be a big hit. It will not be a "much stronger performer" than Zohan. Why would you assume this? 3. So I Married an Ax Murderer was an instant classic? Huh? 4. If 2002's Goldmember had "lost the magic" and 2003's Cat in the Hat was "a new low", how can Guru be the start of Myers downfall? Do you think Valkyrie might be the start of Cruise's downfall? Was the 2006 "Longest Yard" the start of Burt Reynold's downfall? Was stealing his memorabilia back the start of OJ's downfall? 5. "Great marketing means nothing if the movie looks like complete shit" - how can it look like complete shit if the marketing is great? And did Guru really have great marketing? What are you talking about? 6. People actually prefer Myers to Sandler - based on a scientific survey of two people? Why don't you curl up with your laserdisc copy of Ax Murderer and leave the "analysis" to people who have a clue what they're talking about?
  • Cmurder
    I have nothing to say that hasn't already been expressed, so for now I'll stick to commenting on other's comments.... #15....completly 100% agree with you. #27 HAHA! you completly owned him!
  • JeepFu
    I'm not going to see 'The Love Guru' because it looks like just a rehashing of old 'Austin Powers' jokes. In my opinion, Mike Myers needs to reinvent himself and stop clinging onto the fame he got from Austin Powers. Or retire. But then Vern (mini-me) Troyer would be out of a job...unless a new star wars movie was made and they needed Ewoks.
  • Drew
    Have people forgotten the Shrek movies? Shrek came out in 2001 right before goldmember, then the Cat in the Hat, then Shrek 2 which made $441,226,247 which is number 3 in the all time Box Office. Shrek and Shrek 2 were great movies and while Shrek 3 wasn't as good as the first two movies but still came in 18th in the all time box office list with $322,719,944. Those two were his last two movie before the Love Guru So I don't think Mike Myers is dwindling down, I just think he took a 5 minute sketch like Waynes World (not comparing the two quality wise) and made it into a movie. The difference is that Waynes World was funny enough to make a movie, the Love Guru was not...
  • I'm throwing in with the fat guy!
  • Fatty
    When Myers did broad, fifth grade humor in "Wayne's World", people took it as a sharp satire on goofy, heavy-metal-obsessed suburban teenagers. When he did broad, fifth grade humor in "Austin Powers", people took it as a sharp satire on the unsubtle, over-the-top innuendo of British spy films of the 60s. When he does broad, fifth grade humor in "Love Guru", people realize that Myers wasn't making fun of that sense of humor - that is his sense of humor. In that way, "Guru" is the rare movie that's not only terrible, but makes you feel stupid for liking a performer's earlier movies.
  • Garrett.king
    that's weird, Fatty. I don't feel stupid for enjoying his earlier films...intriguing..
  • Paul
    he's washed up lol. Sad but too true you're right but its old. i know the fan boy's will ahte im saying it but its fact get over it.
  • Paul
    Oh spelt hate wrong, and i double posted oh no i gave the hard core brainy computer nerds something to come back with lmfao :D.




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