Movie Review: "Gigli" (2003)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
Besides "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines", "Hulk", and the two 'Matrix' sequels, I can't think of any other film that stunk more in all of 2003 (and even up until now) than the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez star vehicle that was "Gigli". Gig... what? Yeah, 'Gee-lee', it rhymes with really. Anyway, so the plot of "Gigli" is that Ben Affleck is a man working for the mob, his task is to kidnap the mentally handicapped brother of a New York attorney who is causing problems for one of the mob bosses.
Jennifer Lopez plays another contracted mafia agent who is hired by the same person to make sure Ben Affleck's character, Larry Gigli, has no problems with the task (What!?). What follows is an absurd amount of talking, driving, talking, driving, talking, and more driving. The biggest problem of all is that nothing really happens in the film's plot.
Our characters just sit around, drive around, and talk about pointless nonsense. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are supposed to be these tough mafia people but they are never depicted doing anything that portrays them as tough, it's just them talking the talk. The one good thing I can say about "Gigli" is that Al Pacino shines during his one scene in the film, despite the fact that the scene in question is as dumb as the rest of the movie.
"Gigli" is such a mess that I don't even know where to start. I guess I'll start with the main characters themselves...
What's to Like?
Ben Affleck plays Larry Gigli, our film's central character. There is not one likable quality about him. From the get-go, we see him do things that make us hate him. He uses the F-word in almost every line when he's upset and he uses this horrible gangster accent that doesn't quite sound right. There's even a scene in his bathroom where he's sort of practicing some kind of macho act in the mirror in order to impress Ricky, it just makes you want to punch the guy in the face for being such an a-hole.
Larry is just not likable at all, he's a total idiot. Oh wait, we find out LATER in the film that Larry has no friends. Gee, this information would have been useful if it were brought to the audience's attention in the beginning?
The Stone Cold Dyke
We never find out much about Ricky (Jennifer Lopez) except that she's a "stone cold dyke", as Larry describes her. However, the movie often tries to make Ricky appear more than what she seems to be, there's a whole list of what that consists of, but I'll try to go through some of them:
- and the list goes...
None of these things mesh quite well because her personality is changing in every scene.
There is one scene in particular that I recall which sticks out like a sore thumb in this respect. It's the scene where Larry, Ricky, and the Brian are having dinner in his apartment. Larry and Brian are both eating frozen microwavable meals with two glasses of water while Ricky is the only one consuming nothing other than a warm cup of tea. Yeah, thanks, I get it, she is the 'wise' one. Thanks for rubbing that one in my face.
What kind of a dinner is that anyway? Is a cup of tea really considered a meal? How the heck does that fill someone up? It's not like it's a smoothie drink, it's a freaken cup of tea for Christ's sake! And why on Earth does Larry only seem to have water to drink?
Bootleg Rain Man
Justin Bartha plays Brian, the mentally-handicapped guy whom Larry kidnaps from the group home. Now, I know people with this defect could do some weird things that they can't help but do, however, Brian's character is nothing more than an insult to mentally-handicapped people in general.
It's like they were writing him to make fun of people like him. He has some of the most cringeworthy scenes in "Gigli", a few which include him dancing to a Hip hop song on the radio and even singing LL Cool J and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Brian also has the worst lines. Take the one scene where Brian and Larry are waiting for Ricky in the car outside the hospital:
Brian: They make my penis sneeze.
Larry: You know, Brian, you have a good sense of humor.
Brian: God bless you.
Larry pauses for a moment, astounded by Brian's kindness.
(Cue the emotional music)
Larry: Thank you.
Brian: No not you, stupid. I say god bless you whenever my penis sneezes.
What the heck was that!?
Cry Me a River
There's many attempts to pry emotion out of the audience during "Gigli" but the film itself is devoid of any. Instead, it uses emotional cue music to spell it out for us. Take for instance the scene where Brian explains what the 'Baywatch' is, there's an emotional cue in the soundtrack, but why would this be an emotional scene? There's nothing special about the stupid 'Baywatch'.
Time Wasters 101
Good Lord, I feel as if I could write a book about how much this film sucks. One of the big no-no's in filmmaking are time wasters. There are plenty of scenes where time is wasted during "Gigli", this is also known as filler (or fluff in some cases). A few scenes in particular are:
- Larry's mom -- They stop at Larry's mother's house and all they do is talk. Ricky talks to Larry's mom, Larry's mom talks to Ricky, Larry comments here and there. Larry's mom never reveals anything about her son's character in this scene. As a matter of fact, the whole reason for going to Larry's mother's house is completely redundant. They go there because Brian has to use the bathroom. However, when Brian first brings this to Larry's attention, he's already driving in an area that is populated with restaurants and the like. He could have easily stopped at one of them, maybe a fast food joint, as opposed to driving to... only God knows how many blocks to his mother's house.
- Ricky's ex-girlfriend pays the trio a visit during one scene. Apparently, she has been spying on her and thinks she's having a heterosexual relationship with Larry. The ex-girlfriend gets into an argument with Larry, slits her wrists, gets sent to the hospital... and is never heard from again? So what was the point of the whole set-up? Oh yeah, just to fill more screen time.
- A detective played by Christopher Walken visits them in one scene. He is never given a name and he doesn't really do anything. It's just another round of pointless talking. Speaking of detectives, I was surprised to find out that the police are never really a big problem in the movie even though Walken's character does indicate that they are aware of Brian's disappearance. Gee, I bet that would have added some tension, some action, to this boring film.
Random Things That Make No Sense
- Larry just walks into the group home and takes Brian out with him. Nobody ever questions anything. Where on Earth are the security guards and the group home staff?
- Why is Larry arguing with an autistic person? Doesn't he know he's autistic?
- Twice during the film, Larry tries to talk his way out of taking Brian to the 'Baywatch' by pretending to talk on a cell phone. More specifically, he pulls out a huge flashlight and pretends he's talking on a cell phone. Why doesn't he just pretend he's using his actual cell phone? It's not like he doesn't have one, he uses it to talk to his associate Louis.
- A soon as Ricky delivers her monologue about vaginas and how they are superior to men, Larry suddenly starts improving and becoming a nicer guy. What is Ricky, some sort of lesbian Jedi?
- At one point, Louis orders Larry and Ricky to cut off Brian's thumb and mail it to his brother as proof that they do indeed have his brother. This is one the stupidest scenes in "Gigli". First and foremost, they go to a morgue and use a plastic knife (WTF!?) to cut off some random corpse's thumb; why not just take an actual knife from Larry's house? Secondly, the idea is stupid to begin with because the thumb would be dead and the fingerprint could be traced. Also, the latter doesn't help much these crooks much considering that the kid's brother is a FEDERAL PROSECUTOR.
- Ricky suddenly gets sqeuamish when they are given the order to cut off Brian's thumb? I thought she was supposed to be this know-it-all tough chick. Talk about contradicting characters.
- Why exactly does Ricky end up sleeping with Larry? Isn't she supposed to be a 'stone cold dyke'? Why all of a sudden does she change her ways? Nothing caused this change.
- So the main mob boss, Starkman (Al Pacino), is concerned about what Brian might tell the court. However, he knows nothing about Starkman or Louis, the guy who's giving Starkman's orders to Larry and Ricky, so what could he possibly tell the court?
- Ricky's argument to Starkman about why he shouldn't kill her and Larry is stupid from the ground up because Brian would still be alive anyway.
- Why does Larry randomly start giving Brian advice about meeting women? How does he expect Brian to ever be capable of maintaining a romantic relationship with a woman?
- At the end, Larry gives Ricky his car to get out of town. A moment later, she drives back to him and offers him a ride out of town with her. He gladly accepts and off they go, just like that. What about their clothes? They're not going to stop by Larry's apartment to pack their bags?
Remedies for "Gigli"
- Anyone got a paper shredder? It's a good place to keep scripts like this one.
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