Reviewed by Scott Murdock
Rating: 8 Beans
or this week's Bad Movie Night run our little group decided it was time to see "Gigli". We went into this one knowing it could be a hellish experience. However, I tried to keep an open mind to the possibility that maybe the awfulness is getting magnified by backlash against the film's stars.
This is NOT the worst movie I have ever seen. However, it IS the worst movie I have seen during this BMN season. (Though we missed "From Justin to Kelly" altogether, none of us even noticed that it came through town.) It is also worse than any movies from the previous BMN season (barely beating out "Pluto Nash"). And going back a season before that, it SHOULD take second billing to "Crossroads". However, "Crossroads" was better edited and, as hard as it is to imagine, had better music than "Gigli". Thus making "Gigli" the worst 21st-century movie our BMN group has seen.
Our standard theater for our Bad Movie Night is a showpiece of a cinema in the Country Club Plaza shopping district in central Kansas City. It occupies the upper floors of a former shopping mall and the upper floors over a parking garage across the street with the two halves connected by a skywalk. (This is the same theater that has been in the national spotlight recently for banning children.) The ticket taker is this nice kid who always gives us a hard time for the movies that he cannot believe we are actually there to see. We were looking forward to how he was going to react when we handed him "Gigli" tickets to tear.
Unfortunately, this did not pan out today. Why? Because only a week after the film opened, and AFTER showtime listings had already been published, this theater decided to yank nearly all the "Gigli" screenings. Only one showtime remained, 1:10 in the afternoon, likely to fulfill some sort of contractual obligation.
So instead we were forced to go to our backup theater in a nearby casino. A theater that does not have the benefit of self-service ticket purchasing kiosks.... meaning we had to paper-rock-scissors for who had to go first and say aloud "I want to see Gigli" while the rest of us could simply say "Same for me." :)
The movie starts out not too badly, with Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck, but everyone already knows that) extracting cash from a gentleman by threatening to turn him into beef jerky by means of a laundromat dryer. Unfortunately this is the high point of the movie.
Gigli's next assignment from his boss Louis (Lenny Venito) is to kidnap the mentally-impaired younger brother of "this guy who is causing [my] friend some trouble". So in the next scene Gigli strolls unencumbered into the group home where his mark, Brian (Justin Bartha, in his first film role), lives. Even more incredulously, he apparently subsequently walks right on out the door with him without question. In-between we learn that Brian is apparently a horny autistic young man with Tourette's. And as the touching "I am about to kidnap you" music begins to play, we experience only the first of many inappropriate, completely mismatched musical cues.
Now, even though Gigli has successfully kidnapped Brian, Louis inexplicably decides that Gigli can't handle the job and sends Ricki (Jennifer Lopez, as if you didn't already know) to Gigli's place to keep an eye on things.
Naturally Gigli falls for Ricki, but Ricki has no interest because she is a lesbian. Fortunatly for Gigli, however, in Ben Affleck movies lesbianism is just a phase women go through when they cannot find a man who can satisfy them -- and he is the man who can. Several scenes are eerily reminiscient of "Chasing Amy", in fact there is even a scene where a character suggests that everyone involved should have sex with each other to solve the problem. The "just a phase" notion of lesbianism is brought to the forefront in the Lainie Kazan cameo as Gigli's mother... the only purpose this scene served.
For some reason Gigli seems to believe that comparing Ricki to a cow will win her over. Apparently this eventually works, though once Gigli realizes who truly dominates the relationship he ends a session of lovemaking by mooing seductively. I'm not making this up, people.
The dialogue in this movie is terrible and I won't even bother with the examples that have been listed thousands times already in numerous other reviews. From Ricki's "I guess I don't need to tell you that..." speech just after her introduction (one of the most pathetic attempts at exposition in recent memory) to the "touching" Hollywood conclusion, it is an endless stream of awkward sentences that no one would ever say in natural conversation.
The editing in this movie is poor. Most shots are bookended by a period of silence and stillness... as if the editors just didn't care enough to trim it away. The result is long, unnatural pauses between subsequent lines in conversations... pauses so long it's as if each party is waiting for the camera to whirl around to him or her before they respond. Also most scenes run on way too long and many others are not even needed at all.
John Powell's musical score is clumsy at best. Much of the movie has no score, and most of the rest uses simple and wholly inappropriate cues that literally leave you shaking your head wondering if the composer even watched the scenes he was writing music for.
Speaking of sound, there was one other thing I noticed: an almost complete lack of background noise. Gigli lives in an apartment building and in once scene chastizes Brian for making too much noise early in the morning and disturbing neighbors. But you never hear any normal apartment noises (or even see any neighbors for that matter). A scene next to a large aquarium has no hum and no bubbling sounds. Outdoor scenes contain only the sounds made by Ben and J-Lo. It was a little disconcerting.
The movie also suffers from being able to decide what it wants to be. Most of the time it acts like a romatic comedy set against an organized crime theme. But two scenes, one involving Ricki's jilted lover and the other involving the Al Pacino cameo, have a darker tone that is from another movie altogether. The Al Pacino cameo contains a shot involving fish that led one of my companions to say "that was cool". I can't deny that, what was shown WAS cool, but it did not belong in this movie. And the eerlier scene with the jilted lover, Robin (Missy Crider), is just a bizarre freakshow that doesn't have anything to do with anything.
Other critics have given kudos to the Christopher Walken cameo, but I cannot because it did not serve any purpose and added nothing to the movie.
As the movie drew to its obvious conclusion one of my companions tried to climb out of his seat and be the first out the door but he was quickly subdued and forced to sit still until the credits rolled. We made it, we saw the entire thing.
Our auditorium had a total of seven people in it. There were the three of us in the back row. In front of us was a couple who at first seemed interested in the movie but by the end were laughing at how terrible it was and making fun of it. The remaining two audience members were two blonde teenage girls in the front who were hooting it up the whole time, finding it genuinely funny and acting as though it was end end all experience of their young lives. C'est la vie.
If you want to see this one in the theater, you have about 48 hours before it will be gone. Otherwise, it should be in the discount bin at K-Mart in about a week and a half and available free with purchase of a large pizza from Pizza Hut the week after that.
Other reviews for this movie:
Roger M. Wilcox
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