It's hard to know precisely how and why Mike Myers has lost his comedic edge. Is it that comedy has moved on, and Myers is still writing like it's 1994? If that were true, the likes of 'Wayne's World' and 'Austin Powers' would hold no joy for anyone anymore. You can watch both of those movies and still have a fantastic time with them. 'Wayne's World', in particular, is a marvellously enjoyable comedy. Yet, 'The Love Guru' was an utter failure, and Netflix's 'The Pentaverate' is equally poor.
Myers does his usual schtick of playing multiple characters - here, he plays a fictional version of legendary rock manager Shep Gordon, a Rupert Murdoch-alike press baron, a stuffy English lord, an Alex Jones-alike conspiracy theorist, a fuddy-duddy Canadian TV journalist, a crazed conspiracy theorist from New England who looks like Art Garfunkel, and a few others. You've got Keegan Michael Key, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Saunders under heavy makeup, Debi Mazar, Jeremy Irons' baritone voice introducing the whole damn thing, yet still 'The Pentaverate' just fails to make even a laugh.
It's not for lack of trying, either. Every available opportunity is taken to crack a joke or make a visual gag, but the humour just never seems to connect. Moreover, it's a constant barrage of them which just serves to underline how unfunny it all is. Toilet humour isn't the problem here, nor is making stereotypical jokes either. Canadians in 'The Pentaverate', for example, have an exaggerated accent and apologise constantly, while Americans curse constantly and crudely. It's just that it constantly reinforces the idea that Myers' comedy hasn't moved on in any kind of meaningful way. The writing hasn't progressed or improved, the jokes are ultimately recycled from his best works, and even though it's all so well-meaning and trying so hard, it comes up short.
'Supermensch', a documentary movie about one of the Pentaverate's real-life members, was directed by Mike Myers. It's easily his best work in years, yet Myers hasn't done anything like it since then. His brief performance in 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as a fictional record executive who premonitions 'Wayne's World' was just downright daft, and 'The Gong Show' revival he hosted under a pseudonym and layers of makeup was quietly cancelled after the ratings fell through the floor. 'The Pentaverate' is unlikely to make waves with anyone and will probably fall into the vortex of Netflix content inside of a week, never to be seen or heard of again. Odds are there'll be a cancellation announcement in a month's time, maybe less if Netflix's woes continue. The only funny thing - and not haha funny - that 'The Pentaverate' has going for it is that it has everything going for it.
The cast is willing and able, the production design looks expensive, a story about secret societies and misinformation should do well in our truth-starved world, yet it just never adds up to anything other than a dull, flat, unfunny waste of three hours of everyone's time.