Gigli

"Bad"

Gigli Review


That deafening sound you hear is negative buzz. Gigli just opened, and already it has plenty. Early test screenings started it. The media fueled it. And the release of the film may finally conclude our on-going fascination with A-list celebrity couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

For those who never tune into E! (shame on you), here's the backstory. Ben and Jen fell in love on the Gigli set. Fireworks off-screen, though, didn't translate to chemistry on-screen, and the movie was shredded by test audiences. Columbia originally planned to open Gigli in November 2002, but hesitated and shelved the film until now, which usually signifies disaster.

The results aren't as dire as expected, but they remain far from entertaining. Together, Affleck and Lopez have approximately six good movies to their names. Gigli isn't one of them. Vulgar, insensitive and unaware of its direction, the split-personality character study wavers from mob drama to romantic comedy when it should've picked one and stuck with it.

Blame writer/director Martin Brest, who has helmed good movies in the past (Midnight Run, Scent of a Woman), but hasn't written a script since 1979's Going in Style. His rust coats Gigli like a suit of armor. There's no rhythm to his putrid dialogue, no flow to his preposterous scenes. Conversations are loaded with sex talk, but devoid of heat. The movie occasionally builds momentum, but crass punch lines linger around every corner, ready to stop this train in its tracks.

The story centers on thug-for-hire Larry Gigli (Affleck), which rhymes with "really." Petty mobster Louis (Lenny Venito) orders Gigli to kidnap Brian (Justin Bartha), the mentally disabled brother of a federal prosecutor. They hope to use their hostage as leverage in a case pending against their crime boss, Starkman (Al Pacino). But shortly after assigning Gigli to the kidnapping, Louis loses faith and sends in levelheaded Ricki (Lopez) for reinforcements.

Logic exits once Jenny from the block enters, and erratic character motivations raise more questions than answers. Why does Louis assign Gigli to such an important task if he doesn't trust him? And what sours Louis on Gigli, who up until this point seems to be a bullheaded but loyal goon? The answer, while pat, is that Gigli needs Louis to be hostile so that Ricki can enter the picture and our cute couple can commence mugging.

As for the celebrated twosome, they labor through with heads held high but are constantly betrayed by Brest's impractical script. Lopez diligently recites her loquacious lines about Zen living, but she's not believable as a beauty with a brain, a pacifist packed into a denim mini-skirt. Affleck's not sure whether to play for exaggerated laughs or straight-up intimidation. The script gives him no guidance, so he haphazardly tries both, whether it fits the mood of the current scene or not.

Newcomer Bartha sees Brian as a poor man's version of Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man character, but never amounts to more than a device. He periodically suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, sporadically breaks out into old school rap songs like Sir Mix a Lot's "Baby Got Back" (a J. Lo homage, no doubt), and dreams of living in the place where Baywatch is filmed. Brest's incessant attempts to humiliate this character border on cruelty. Only the deliciously over-the-top cameos by Pacino and Christopher Walken snatch Gigli from the trash heap and give you two reasons to eventually watch this movie on HBO.

The rest is forgettable. Brest's insufferable screenplay is rife with endless blow job references and ambiguous questions regarding Gigli's heterosexuality. You'd think Affleck's buddy Kevin Smith took a shot at the rewrites. Heck, if Jason Mewes had plugged himself into the Brian character and the action had shifted from Santa Monica to Red Bank, NJ, Gigli could have been a Smith movie.

Ironically, it's Smith who has the most to lose over the Gigli backlash. Affleck and Lopez are set to star in the director's forthcoming Jersey Girl, due out in February. Perhaps Ashton Kutcher will have married the Olsen Twins by then, though, and the world will have moved past the merger of Ben and Jen.

Waiting for the marriage counselor.



Gigli

Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st August 2003

Box Office Worldwide: $7.3M

Budget: $54M

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

IMDB: 2.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Larry Gigli, as Ricki, as Brian, as Mother, as Louis, as Robin, as Starkman, as Det. Stanley Jacobellis

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.