Reviewed by Patrick Brogan
Rating: 5 Beans
ha' Happened!" That is a quote said by the very funny Fred Willard in one of this year's funny films A MIGHTY WIND. And when I sat down and watched GIGLI, "Wha' Happened!" is what was going through my mind as I watched the lasted film from director Martin Brest and starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (I refuse to call her J. Lo!)
Let me first start off talking about Martin Brest. I my personal opinion, I see Martin Brest as one of the best directors working in Hollywood. If you look at his film career you might agree with me on most of the films. First there was GOING IN STYLE with George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasburg (the same Strasburg who taught Marylin Monroe to act). It was a delightful and enjoyable comedy/drama about three bored seniors who decide to stick up a bank for excitement. Then came Brest's biggest hit (all thank to faith when Brest flipped and coin and the coin came up to him directing the film)... BEVERLY HILLS COP. This is a very exciting and highly entertaining film that made Eddie Murphy a box office success (before resorting to his recent bad "kiddie" films), and had Martin Brest a highly sought after director. Then with SCENT OF A WOMAN, a film that finally had Al Pacino win that golden statutte that he so long deserved. Made Chris O' Donnell a short term star. And even introduced the world (at least me) to Phillip Seymour Hoffman who would go on to make several modern classics. The with MEET JOE BLACK the film had great serious acting by Brad Pitt, a wonderful light role by Anthony Hopkins, and great supporting performances from Marcia Gay Harding and Jeffrey Tambor. Granted, I do agree that MEET JOE BLACK was too long (how long did we have to see Claire Florani unbutton Pitt's shirt?), but it was a enjoyable film. Then there's MIDNIGHT RUN. MIDNIGHT RUN..... for me, it is my personal favorite movie of all time! Seeing Robert DeNiro being funny before he made a mockery of the gangster genre with the ANALYZE films, and being the straight man to Ben Stiller in MEET THE PARENTS. DeNiro cracking witty and very hysterical jokes, putting up with Charles Grodin's whinning and complaining, posing as a federal agent, competeing with a rival bounty hunter, avoiding both the FBI and the mob, and dealing with his unfaithful bailbonds employer. MIDNIGHT RUN wasn't a box office success, but if you look at the cast, people would still ask, "why wasn't this a hit film?" Robert DeNiro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, John Ashton, Phillip Baker Hall, Jack Kohe (from THE STING & THE GAME). MIDNIGHT RUN is a film that has for years generated a audience from numerous superstation cable airings on both TBS and TNT. DeNiro has said that MIDNIGHT RUN is his personal favorite film of his career (and AFI didn't acknowledge it with DeNiro's tribute!) Drew Barrymore on the TODAY show just last June praised and loved MIDNIGHT RUN. And in a INSTYLE article five years ago, Ben Affleck said that MIDNIGHT RUN was his favorite film.
Which could be the reason why Affleck wanted to do GIGLI, he is working with the director of his favorite film. Affleck is a enjoyable actor. He's not outstanding or fantastic. And sadly, I think he gets a bad rap because of the actors who are in the spotlight continiously (Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, Tom Hanks, etc.) Affleck isn't up to par with them. But for being a actor in films, Affleck is a good actor. CHASING AMY he along with Jason Lee made the film very enjoyable and funny (also thanks goes to writer/director Kevin Smith). BOILER ROOM, Affleck gives a OUTSTANDING monologue speech in the beginning of the film. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, Affleck gave a enjoyable supporting performance, despite being out shined by Gwyenth Paltrow and their relationship. But does the mass public recognize Affleck in these films? No, of course not. When Affleck comes to mind the two films people think of is his two "biggest" films, ARMAGEDDON and PEARL HARBOR. Which is a shame because those are his two least good perfomances. Should Affleck be blamed? No, first of all those films were Jerry Bruckheimer produced films, and he isn't too concerned about the acting in those films. More importantly, both of those films were Michael Bay films, and Michale Bay NEVER cares about his actor's performances. So with the scripts that Affleck was given, he did what he could.
Then there is Jennifer Lopez. Hhmmmmm. There are only two good films that I enjoyed her in, and what a coincidence! They were both made before she became "Jenny From Down the Block." The first film was the film that "hypnotized" her into becoming that pop star singer, SELENA. Lopez, along with Edward James Olmos gave great performances in that film, which it had a familar true story ring, but both actors did good jobs. Then the following year with Steve Soderbergh's OUT OF SIGHT. Wow! Now there was a excellent film! Lopez did a very great job in that film, and that was in part to her high class supporting cast (George Clooney, Ving Rhames, Steve Zhan, Dennis Farina, Don Chedele, etc.) and Sodenbergh's script and direction. But for Lopez recent films after OUT OF SIGHT (ENOUGH, MAID IN MANHATTAN, ANGEL EYES, etc.) she isn't anything special, especially the press and hype she gets from the media because of her relationships (can't they figure out that she doesn't want to be a "wife" or "mommy?")
Now comes GIGLI, a film that I haven't seen in a long time where my mouth was agape or open from what I was watching on screen. I've seen movies that I expected to be bad, and I was right (KUNG POW, SLACKERS, VIRUS, SPICE WORLD). Then there are movies that I didn't really care to see, and they turned out to be unintentionally funny (BATTLEFIELD EARTH, ROLLERBALL, FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY). But GIGLI was different. This film reminded me of the movies described in the Michael Sauter book "The Worst Movies Of All Time: (or What Were They Thinking)." Sauter has a majority of the book discussing the "megaton bomb" in which these are films financed by big studios, with top name stars/actors, and had spent a lot of money putting into the film. Then watching the final product, the viewer wonders "wha' happened?" Some of the movies discussed in the book included SKIDOO, MYRA BRICKENRIDGE, SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, ORCA, HEAVEN'S GATE, BONFIRE OF THE VANITITES, SHOWGIRLS, THE POSTMAN, and you can see where I'm going. And while I was watching this film, if Sauter ever does a follow-up or update (which he did in '99), I visioned Chapter 60: GIGLI.
GIGLI is a movie that has a talented cast, talented crew, talented director, talent all around. Yet, when heads collide and clash, problems arise and films go from being the golden goose to the golden turkey. This film had problems before it was ever released. First there was the too much publicity and hype with Affleck and Lopez falling in love. And whenever Affleck and Lopez were seen in public holding hands, the press would do a "plug" for GIGLI, "the two met while making the new film GIGLI." Then the research screenings of GIGLI began. The original ending was dubbed too "depressing" and Revolution Studio head Joe Roth who financed the film ordered Brest to reshoot the ending and make it more happy. Brest did reshoot, and showed it to a new audience, and the people still hated it. This caused a fisaco with director Brest and studio head Roth leaving the theater screaming at each other and had to be separated. "See, we did it your Hollywood ending and people hated it!" Brest would be yelling at Roth.
Then the reviews came in:
"*: There's virtually no story, no conflict, no tension and no suspense, just the endless droning of the worst dialogue written in recent memory."
-Bill Muller, ARIZONA REPUBLIC(where I'm from)
"A recent episode of South Park suggested that a fourth-grader's hand puppet could turn in a better performance than Ms. Lopez, and in the case of Gigli, it's hard to argue."- Luke Thompson, NEW TIMES
"The movie is pretty much as bad as you've heard, a tangle of badness so thick it's hard to hack your way through and find the good idea that made writer/director Martin Brest think this was a story worth telling."-Gary Thompson, PHILLADELPHIA DAILY NEWS
"Imagine a movie made up entirely of Deleted Scenes...Not since Travolta and Tomlin in 1978ís Moment By Moment has a love scene been this embarrassing or uncomfortable." -Collin Souter, EFILMCRITIC.COM
"[O]ne of the worst movies I've ever seen."-Richard Roeper, EBERT & ROEPER
"Hopelessly misconceived exercise in celebrity self-worship."-A.O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES
"It is an exquisitely bad movie: One to be savoured, marvelled over, shared with friends and generally appreciated in a state of awestruck wonder. Gourmet fromage."-Geoff Pevere, TORONTO STAR
"A rigli, rigli bad movie."-Bruce Newman, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
But that didn't stop me. Hell, the man who directed my favorite films of all time, MIDNIGHT RUN for crying out loud! Thankfully that I still have friends at the movie theaters, I got in for free. I was willing to give this movie a shot. I wanted to like this movie. I made myself like THE AVENGERS, WILD WILD WEST, and even LEAGUE OF EXTRADONARY GENTLEMEN, I wanted so much to like this movie becuase it was written and directed by Martin Brest. In the end, I walked out of that theater in a confused state of mind. Steven Spielberg is another favorite director of mine, and I enjoyed 1941. But when I left that theater, I realized how critics and audiences felt after watching 1941. I did my damnest to like this movie, and I couldn't. I couldn't recommend this film. Now on to the review:
Gigli (pronounced as ZHEE-lee, rhymes with 'really') is the name of the Affleck character. Larry Gigli (Affleck) is a man who works for the mafia doing the dirty work in Los Angeles for the bosses in New York City. The opening scene is rather entertaining as Gigli threatens a man to make the payment as the helpless victim is sitting in the laundromat dryer. Affleck is giving a performance very similar to the voice and attitude of Edward Burns, and it's not bad. I was thinking, this doesn't seem too bad, what were those critics thinking? Then after the title and credits appear, the film continues. Larry is told by his superior, Louis (Lenny Venito), that their "boss in New York" is on trial by a federal prosecutor, and Larry needs to kidnap the prosecutor autistic brother, Brian (Justin Bartha, who's previous credit was the office production aide for ANALYZE THIS; in other words, this is his film debut). We see Larry go to the institution where Brian is kept, and Brian keeps asking if he wants to "go to the Baywatch." Hhhmmm, not bad, seems pretty good so far, I can buy that. Then like a bolt of lightning or a sucker punch to the face, Brian begins shouting out profanities. It appears that Brian seems to also have Tourette's...uh-oh, the film is beginning to sink. Brian keeps asking Larry that he "wants to go to the Baywatch." And in a amusing bit, Larry pulls out a flashlight and uses it like a cellular informing to Brian that the "Baywatch" is closed that day. O.K. that's a nice scene, I can dig it. The film goes back to Larry's place (and sadly it won't be the last time), where Larry is watching Brain. A knock is made on the door, and Larry opens it to see....GASP! a young Latino woman named Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), yet it's not her real name, she just wants to be called that. She firsts ask if she can use the phone, Larry lets her, then after using the phone she informs Larry that Louis sent her to watch both Larry and Brain and to make sure Larry doesn't "screw up" his job, uh-oh again, going down, going down.
And to be honest to you readers, I actually can't remember what happened. It felt like some kind of drunk state of mind. Seeing weird performances and visions that I never thought I would see, being shown on the screen. So bare with me if I seem to confuse you on the plot details, I did my damnest to follow the movie.
So Larry feels that Ricki is attracted to him, becuase, he a bull and she's a cow. Yes that is the dialogue. Yet Ricki tells Larry that she's a lesbian and doesn't find him attractive. Bad move, because in reality, these two love birds were falling for each other. The eyes never lie, Lopez's pupils were dialated as well as Affleck's. In a scene that has me guessing that Affleck is doing his best DeNiro impersionation (with the frowning lips and tough guy talk), saying he's a bull, he's a bull. Ha! I could think of a couple of puns about this scene. I'm gonna let you insert your own pun, I'm just telling you what is shown in this film.
Before this scene occurs, Brian is sent to sleep on Larry's couch, and Brain wants Larry to tell him a bedtime story. Larry, being a tough guy doesn't own anybooks, not even a phone book, I guess. So what does Larry read to Brain, the label on a tobasco bottle. That's a pretty cheep joke, not funny, not amusing. We're losing the ship!
The next day, Larry, Ricki, and Brain go to Larry's mother's house, played by Lainie Kazan (the mother of last year's hit MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING). But instead of introducing her by opening the front door or sitting down then standing up to welcome her guest, we don't get the traditional element of introducing a new character. No, not this film! How are we introduced to Larry's mother? Here's how, and I'm being very serious..... we see Larry injecting a needle into her butt cheek, as you also see above the "string" from a g-string thong as well as Kazan's pretty big cheek. This has to be the most disturbing scene of nudity since Kathy Bates in ABOUT SCHMIDT. However, Bates did that with fun and it helped her get a Oscar nomination, plus Bates career isn't leaving soon. With Kanan... well, was it nescesarry to see that? (I'll get more into this element of film making later on).
Then to add salt to the wound, Kazan turns around and shows massive cleavage (do all mothers of slick mafiso's dress like this?) Then a kick to the stomach with the wound covered with salt, Larry's mom finds out that Ricki is a lesbian, so the mom tells Larry, Ricki, poor Brain, and the poor audience that she did some "experimenting" herself in the past and has had her share of women. Eeeeeewwwwwww!!!!! I am trying my best not to vision Larry's mom (in the shape she's in) with another woman, even if the other woman is a Playboy Playmate, the vision of Kazan fully naked is haunting. The ship is lost!
We go back to Larry's place, and there's a knock on the door, with Larry hiding Brian, Federal Officer Stanley Jacobellis (Christopher Walken) comes in. Now I've known people and actors have given Christopher Walken a bad rap making fun of his acting (especially Jay Mohr!) but I enjoyed Walken. THE DEER HUNTER, THE DEAD ZONE, A VIEW TO A KILL, AT CLOSE RANGE, even last year's CATCH ME IF YOU CAN which Walken received a Oscar nod by giving a great performance! But the Christopher Walken in this film appears to act like the same one that comedians like Jay Mohr do impressions of. Walken comes in, talks about ice cream for a while, then leaves the movie. Huh? I'm sure Walken said more, but his performance was so confusing and trife that the ice cream bit was the only thing I could understand.
Then we go to Larry, Ricki, and Brian at a L.A. fast food restaurant, where the customers sit and eat outside. Brian is staring at a picture of a woman in a bikini, as Larry and Ricki discuss her lesbian life. A couple of white bread hoods blasting rap music, which Brian later raps with in his autistic-physical handicapped voice. Oh man, oh man! Larry tells the hoods to turn off their music and they scoff him off. Ricki informs Larry that he needs to work on her people skills. So Ricki confronts the hoods and in Lopez's "threating" voice she tells them that she will gouge out their eyeballs or something like that. I know it's something that is suppose to sound intimidating, but with Lopez saying it, it's not believable. Had Angelie Jolie, does this, she could have made it seem believable. But seeing a pop star "diva" who's latest album cover posted all over L.A. and Hollywood has her dress up like Jennifer Beals in FLASHDANCE, saying these lines is not only unbelievable but embarrassing. However, Lopez convinces the hoods to turn down their music. While Larry comes by, grabs the high-class hood's laptop computer, breaks it in half and yells, "suck my dick dot com!" Not funny. Not funny at all.
We go back to Larry's place, again, damn it! And go back to some more talking. This movie has too much talking! While Larry and Ricki discuss again lesbianism, Brian picks up the phone and dials up listening to the weather report in Australlia. Larry catches Brian listening to this and explains that these phone calls are expensive. Brian then reveals to Larry that he enjoys listening to the Aussie woman's voice. O.K. that I can buy, that's another nice touch. It seems that there might be some survivors after all.
As Larry goes back to talking again to Ricki. Louis calls up and Brian answers, having a unfunny scene between a tough guy and a autistic guy on the phone. Larry gets the phone from Brain and Louis asks Larry to cut off the "retard's" thumb and mail it to the prosceutor brother as a message.
Shouldn't having a Polaroid picture of Brian tied up be more meaningful. It's pretty common that sending a body part for blackmail doesn't work anymore. Even the clueless John Goodman character Walter in THE BIG LIBOWSKI said that anyone can get a toe and mail it. Go to a morgue, cut up a dead person's toe (or in this film a thumb) mail it and fool the receiver. But this being GIGLI, Larry thinks of doing that exact thing because he doesn't want to hurt Brian, because Brian is a nice guy.
But before anything can happen, there's a knock at the door, again, this is feeling like a sitcom. And in comes Ricki's ex-girlfriend Robin (Missy Crider) and confronts Ricki asking her if Larry is the guy "replacing" her. Ricki tells Robin that there is nothing going on between Ricki and Larry, that what they are doing is professional. Larry with his tough guy personality tells the woman to leave and that she's "wacked." While Ricki tries telling Robin that their relationship is over. Robin accepts this, and after this, she goes to the kitchen, yells, "fine then I'll take my life!" Robin pulls out a butcher knife and slits both of her wrists and holds her arms up and waves them around, with the wounds opening up and the blood spilling out.
The scene ends "hunor"with Brian saying, "you need a band-aid!" Oh god, making humor in a serious scene is a very very bad comedic element.
We then cut to the hospital with Ricki checking Robin into the hospital. Larry and Brian are in Larry's car, with Larry philophize about Ricki and the reason why she acts the way she acts. The mood then changes to Larry saying that Brian is o.k., and then Brian saying to Larry, "God Bless you." Larry is rather surprised and pleased to hear this and thanks Brian. Here is what can be another scene. Instead... SUCKER PUNCH!!!! Brian then says that when his penis "sneezes" after he touches it for a while, he says "God Bless You." So what was turning into a pretty decent scene turns into another embarrassment.
Larry then takes Brian with him to the morgue area of the hospital, as Ricki distracts the night watch. Larry and Brian are both in the freezer and tells Brian to turn around and close his eyes. Brian does, and when he does, he's reciting the lyrics to Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby's Got Back." Another bad joke. Larry then approaches a corpse and pulls out the hand from the body bag. Larry looks around and sees the only instrument in the place that can cut anything is a plastic butter knife. So Larry takes the knife and begins cutting the thumb from the frozen body. Thankfully after viewing the disturbing Robin's split open wrists with blood coming out, the viewer is spared watching this scene, yet we get to hear it. Then Larry and Ricki are at a UPS store and mail the thumb. Then we are suppose to get a comedic moment as the girl behind the counter "eyes" Ricki more than eyeing Larry. Making a revealing that the girl at the counter is a lesbian and Ricki can attract women with her beauty. Too bad they don't know her personality.
We then go back to Larry's place, as Brian is watching t.v. with monkey's acting out a classic movie (which I think if Martin Brest casted monkey's in this film, it would be more enjoyable). As Brian is watching t.v., Larry watches Ricki do some yoga. And here's the scene with very ludicrous dialogue. Ricki tells Larry that she isn't attracted to men because of the "penis." Ricki calls the penis a "big toe" or "sea slug" and that kissing it or putting it in the mouth is rather disgusting. And what Ricki finds to be the most attractive thing to kiss is the mouth, which is what the vigina is, a mouth. Get it? So here is suppose to be a erotic scene, and instead turns out to be the worst example use of metaphors in the history of dialogue. They later on begin to make love in a unerotic or amusing love scene. If you want to see a erotic love scene, watch Nicolas Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Now that's a erotic love scene.
Again, I do apologize if the plot or scenes from this movie are out of order. This is from what my memory remembered, if you want to get the correct order, then watch the movie. Otherwise, I'm afraid you're going have to deal with it.
The next day, Larry gets a call from Louis, it turns out that their New York boss wants to see him and Ricki. So Larry and Ricki go the boss' house, who is named Starkman (Al Pacino). Now we finally get a amusing and enjoyable scene. Yea, Pacino has pretty much been playing the same role since Lt. Col. Frank Slade in SCENT OF A WOMAN. The type of role where he speaks normal then he speaks... REAL LOUD SO EVERYONE CAN HEAR HIM! WHO-WHA!!! I've enjoyed his performance and I don't mind it, and in GIGLI, it a welcome sight.
So as Larry and Ricki sit together on one sofa, and Louis is sitting on another, Starkman while holding a pistol asks Louis if he's been to medical school. Louis replies "no" before getting his head shot at and Louis' brains splattered on the wall with bits falling into the fish tank. And to make the scene "humourous" a fish swims by and eats one of the bits of Louis' brain. This isn't funny guys. Starkman then reveals that with modern technology and with the access that the government has, they figured out that the "thumb" wasn't Brian's and it made Starkman look like a bluffing idiot. And this has to be the most logical and understanding line in the entire 124 minutes of this film. Then Ricki brings up a suggesstion that her and Larry can do to please Starkman. To be honest, I forgot what the proposal was, I was too distracted with the vision of the fish eating the bits of human brain. But it's obvious that Larry and Ricki can't fulfill it, but Starkman buys it. Which leaves Ricki and Larry to decide to leave town.
So by taking Brian, Larry decides to leave him in a spot where he won't get arrested and where Brian will be safe. As the three are riding in Larry's convertable on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), Brian spots.... THE BAYWATCH!!!! Actually it's a movie being shot on the beach (sadly the beach movie isn't FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY, otherwise, this would have been the funny highlight GIGLI could have had). So Larry and Ricki drop Brian off on the set and watch him wonder the crowd. Larry picks up a pay phone receiver, calls the federal prosceutor's office to inform them where Brian is, at the beach, on the set of a movie. Then Larry asks Ricki to take his car and leave. Ricki gets into Larry's convertable and drives away............
Now here is where I'm guessing where the film originally ended. Starkman's guys find Larry trying to leave and shoot him dead. The End. That is from what I've read and gahtered from watching this movie is how the film was originally suppose to end. I just know that Larry was killed at the end of the film. However, since the tabloids were publishing Ben and Jen photos on the cover of every supermarket tabloid, the public were beginning to "fall in love" with these two. Not true. The press and entertainment talk shows were falling in love with these two, the public was getting annoyed by them. So since Revolution Studio head Joe Roth wanted to cash in on Ben and Jen's romance, and he needed a box office hit after such winners (more like losers) like: THE NEW GUY, THE ONE, XXX, STEALING HARVARD, MASTER OF DISGUISE, DARKNESS FALLS, THE ANIMAL, and AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS. The only good films Revolution Studio's has put out are Tony Scott's BLACK HAWK DOWN and P.T. Anderson's PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. Sadly GIGLI shouldn't be associated with BLACK HAWK or PUNCH DRUNK. So Joe Roth wanted a BIG box office hit, and ordered Brest to reshoot the ending. Brest did and here is what the new and "Hollywood Ending" (the one that I saw) is.......
Larry sees Brian walking among other teenagers and 20 something's wearing beach clothes. The director then tells the people on the beach to pair up and dance. Since Brian isn't suppose to be on the and he doesn't know what's really going on. He at first appears to be alone. Then, ah! A very beautiful blond in a bikini is standing alone (Shelby Fenner). The blonde approaches the partner-less Brian and begins talking to him. And wala! She has a Aussie accent!! Brian then begins talking about the weather, using this as a pick-up line that Larry taught Brian to get girls. Now, to me personally, this scene is a nice touch. It might me a sappy ending, but call me sappy, I enjoyed this part of the ending. What I didn't enjoy is that first, Brian is hundreds of feet away from Larry, on a beach, by the PCH, on a movie set. The noise of: the huge number of people, the music being played for the scene the crew is shooting, the waves from the ocean breaking into shore, and the heavy traffic on the PCH; yet the picture cuts to a reaction shot of Larry in amazement and surprise from hearing Brian using the pick-up line with the weather. This is not logically possible! Then to make matters worse, Ricki comes back and reveals her real name (to save the suspense is Claudia or one of the girl's name that begins with a "C"). Then Larry gets into the convertible and Larry and Ricki leave town. Now what I don't get is, that if both the mob and authorities are after Larry and Ricki they would do a smart move and drive down to Mexico. You know, Tijuana, "border town." That would make sense. Instead, they drive North, how do I know? Because the ocean is on the left of the screen! So where are they driving to? San Francisco, Portland, Seattle... Canada?!?!?! Looking at my trusty Rand McNally map, it's about 409 miles from L.A. to San Francisco. It's a 7 1/2 hour drive. From L.A. to Vancouver, British Columbia the milage is 2507 miles and a 28 hour drive. While from L.A. to Tijuana is a 2 1/2 hour drive, a little longer than the length of this film. Why didn't they go south? That would have seemed like the reasonable thing to do.
Okay, now that I'm done with the synopsis, my review. Is GIGLI the "worst movie ever made?" No it's far from it. This movie has some good ideas, some good acting scenes, even some good scenes period. But it's a mess. It's like taking a jigsaw puzzle, throwing the pieces all over the room. Putting sections of the pieces of the puzzle together, and when there are ONLY sections of the puzzle put together you saying you're finished, that's what GIGLI is like. To me, I think it's a unfinished film. It's like watching some good scenes of a movie, then watching about 90 minutes of deleated scenes with those good scenes. That pretty much sums up GIGLI. A film that has both good ideas, good scenes, yet a bunch of junk and unneeded scenes in between. In fact there was way too many speaking scenes.
That was one of my problems with GIGLI, the dialogue. Now comparing dialogue, a great dialogue writer is Kevin Smith. Here's a man who uses pop culture familar to everyone and pokes fun with it. With GIGLI, (which is pretty much the same plot as Kevin Smith/Ben Affleck's CHASING AMY), the dialogue scenes is either decent, to boring, to horrible. There were too many boring dialogue scenes which dragged and dragged and dragged. None of it was intresting or entertaining, it just comes off across as being....(yawn)...dull.
The other problem with the film is Jennifer Lopez's performance. She can convince me as being a Latin singing sensation, a U.S. federal marshall, even a hotel maid who falls in love with a Senator; but a lesbian.....no. When Lopez's character is suppose to be intimidating or some what of a threat, like when she treatens to "kill" Larry a few minutes after they meet, I don't buy it. There's a difference between seeing a actress like Nicole Kidman say "I'll kill you" and Jennifer Lopez saying "I'll kill you." When Kidman says it, I believe it. When Lopez says it, it just sounds like someone telling a story. I didn't buy it and I don't think many other people will.
Then there is the disturbing images that bothered me. In a movie scenes that are shown are suppose to have a impact of the shocking kind. Like the famous scene in Taratino's RESIVOR DOGS in which poor Officer Nash loses a ear, that's shocking. Or even more recently in SALTON SEA, where Vincent D'Onofrio's character of "Pooh Bear" wears a prostetic nose because he lost his nose from doing so much meth. There is a scene where Pooh Bear isn't wearing his fake nose and you see a man with no nose (and errie, it looks like how Michael Jackson looks now!) It's a disturbing scene and it is shocking, and it's a scene that is still in my mind, just like the scene from RESIVOR DOGS. But one should never, NEVER play a disturbing scene for laughs! That is where GIGLI failed. Seeing Lainie Kazan's butt cheek getting a shot injected; Affleck trying to cut off a human tumb with a plastic butter knife; and watching fish devour bloody bits of a brain. Those are disturbing scenes that shouldn't be played for laughs, yet GIGLI tries.
Finally, there's the "sucker punches." The scene when the movie appears to have some heart and emotion (which made MIDNIGHT RUN a cut above the typical buddy films), then the film goes for a disturbing scene or punchline, so it can make the movie appear funny. It's like writing a beautiful poem or song to your loved one and then right when it's about finshed, you cut a big and loud fart ruining the emotion and feeling. It's similar to that little boy who recites a nice and proper poem or saying, only to end it with a burp and laugh his head off as he thinks it's funny. Well with the fart, the burp, and GIGLI, it's not funny. It's very very annoying! So annoying you just want to sucker punch the film and feel better!
So, is GIGLI the worst movie of the year? No, BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY, even the popular AMERICAN WEDDING are worse than GIGLI (although JUSTIN TO KELLY is a very unintentional funny movie!). So why is it currently ranked as the #1 worst movie of all time of the Internet Movie Database page? Well because people who aren't even seeing the movie are giving it low reviews. Because it's the popular movie to knock down right now. Even Entertainment Weekly in the Aug. 8th 2003 issue stated that the "in" movie to make fun of is: GIGLI, "five minutes ago": GLITTER, "out": SHOWGIRLS. And looking at IMDB's "bottom 100" list, such films like: GLITTER, LEONARD PART 6, JAWS: THE REVENGE, KAZAAM, BABY GENIUSES, and POLICE ACADEMY 6 are ranked "higher" than GIGLI, yet GIGLI is a better film. Believe me, it is.
It's just that right now, it's the "cool" thing to knock down or make fun of. When I tell people I sat through GIGLI, I always hear, "was it that bad?!?!" And sadly, I'm the only person I know who has sat trough GIGLI. Yet there are several people who've sat through AMERICAN WEDDING, and I thought that film was a lot worse than GIGLI.
GIGLI is that film that in order to be "cool" you make fun of this movie. I didn't like the film, but the worst film of all time? No, I would say it the biggest disappointment of all time, but not the worst. There are a lot films out there that are worse that GIGLI, and some have made over $100 million dollars (BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE).
I was just very upset after watching this film. Like I said, I tried so damn hard to like this movie, but I couldn't, it had too many things (Lopez's performance, disturbing scenes, sucker punches, etc.) for me to not like the film.
I can applaud Affleck and Brest making a film that is different than a typical love story. But it's not that different, it's the love plot of CHASING AMY blended with the main characters from RAINMAN and mix it together with annoying punchlines and disturbing images, that's also GIGLI.
Now who's to blame? Martin Brest, the writer and director? No, I'm not going to blame him. Even reports said that he was unhappy with the film, and he pretty much disowns it. However, why did he keep his name on the directed and written by credit? Since Alan Smithe "died" in 1999 and the new anonymous name to use when a director is unsatisfied with the finish prodcut is "Thomas Lee" (that's the name Walter Hill used for the terrible film SUPERNOVA). Couldn't Martin Brest use Thomas Lee and inform the public even more that he's unhappy with the film?
Ben Affleck? He's a easy target. Poor Ben's been getting a bad rap since ARMAGEDDON and PEARL HARBOR. From interviews I've seen and stories I've heard Affleck seems like a nice guy. And I'm sure in a couple of years, Affleck will tell people to avoid seeing this film. Besides, Affleck is a actor who is good (watch DAZED & CONFUSED, GOOD WILL HUNTING, CHASING AMY, BOILER ROOM and see for yourself) when the material given to him is good.
Jennifer Lopez? Well, seeing that she didn't have any producing credit (that's a surprise!) I'm sure she had some influence with the finish product, but she can't fully be blamed.
No, I'm going to lay my blame on Joe Roth, the president of Revolution Studios. He wanted to cash in on the fame and craze of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's relationship, and with the "free publicity" GIGLI has been getting because the two have been dating. Roth wanted GIGLI to be not only a big summer movie, but also a movie that he thinks people will enjoy. Roth cares more about quanity, not quality. Brest seemed to have a good record with Universal Pictures (MIDNIGHT RUN, SCENT OF A WOMAN, MEET JOE BLACK) why did Brest leave Universal and work for Columbia/Revolution?
Had this film been released seven years ago, when Columbia was in it's box office drought (before MEN IN BLACK, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, and AIR FORCE ONE saved Columbia), this film would have bankrupted the studio. Instead, it's a film that could possibly ruin Revolution Studios, that's only if Revolution Studios next big film, Ron Howard's THE MISSING, is a bomb.
In final words, GIGLI, isn't the worst movie of all time, it is just a BIG disappointment with the talent that was involved. GIGLI is a perfect example of the "Megaton Bomb." A big budgeted film, talented cast and crew, major studio financed the film; the film failed what it promised, and had little box office return. Michael Sauter, if you're reading this review, add GIGLI to your updated version of your book. Sorry Marty, I still have faith in your work, and we can only learn from our mistakes. I'm hoping your next film will be better, and it should!
Other reviews for this movie:
Roger M. Wilcox