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With: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, Justin Bartha, Lenny Venito
Written by: Martin Brest
Directed by: Martin Brest
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, pervasive language and brief strong violence
Running Time: 121
Date: 07/27/2003

Gigli (2003)

0 Stars

Take This 'Gigli' and Shove It

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

What is Gigli actually about? Hard to tell -- it wanders all over the place, but it's essentially about how Ben Affleck can cure all the evils of the world simply by wearing a bad coiffure and putting on a Brooklyn accent. Not only can he turn a mentally retarded kid into a normal one, but he can also turn a hot lesbian into a straight girl.

Simply put, Gigli is the worst movie in years; it's insulting to almost every facet of human existence, and it displays an almost complete ignorance of moviemaking. It's so unrelentingly bad that people almost should see it just as a bonding experience; viewers (read: victims) will want to talk and comfort each other afterwards.

To start, the film has an almost medieval attitude towards homosexuals and the mentally retarded. Fortunately, the movie does not have any dogs or cats in it, or they would have been insulted as well. (Calling the film a dog is an insult to dogs.)

Affleck plays the title character, pronounced "GEE-lee" (rhymes with "really") for anyone who cares. He's a hired thug for a small-time L.A. gangster Louis (Lenny Venito) and for some reason, they both talk with fake Brooklyn accents. When Louis gets into trouble, he orders Gigli to kidnap a district attorney's mentally retarded younger brother, Brian (Justin Bartha), as a kind of bargaining chip.

Brian starts the movie out with lots of little ticks and twitches. And like Rain Man's K-Mart, Brian wants nothing more than to see "Baywatch" in person. But as the movie progresses, he turns more and more normal. He even ends up with a girlfriend at the end!

But because Louis knows that Gigli is an idiot, he also hires the lesbian Ricki (Jennifer Lopez) to help out. None of this makes any sense, because it appears that Louis is never really in any trouble. Whenever we see him, he's free and walking around on the street.

Even Al Pacino, who shows up in a one-scene cameo later in the film as Louis' boss, proclaims how stupid this whole plot was. And even that scene fails because, for some reason, writer/director Martin Brest directs Pacino to be swishy and feminine like a stereotypical gay character.

Only Christopher Walken adds any zest to this mix, and that's because he delivers a line so unbelievably strange, from so far in outer space, it gets a big laugh. (Something about licking a pie with ice cream off the top of his head.) Walken deserves some kind of special award for being in this, The Country Bears and Kangaroo Jack all within a 12-month period.

No, Gigli doesn't have the slightest idea what it wants to be about, and it tries to cover up by showing scene after scene of poorly-written, overly memorized speeches. Characters rarely talk with each other, only at each other.

Two of the most tasteless speeches -- about the power of the penis and vagina -- lead up to the awful sex scene between Affleck and Lopez, complete with slow motion, dissolves, cheesy music and Lopez wearing her bathrobe throughout.

Lopez has one line, "Turkey time! Gobble gobble!" that will no doubt go down in movie history as one of the worst movie lines ever. Even Joe Eszterhas has to doff his chapeau for that one. Some of his lines in Showgirls come close, but do not equal, the offensive power of this dialogue.

Lopez comes out slightly ahead of Affleck in the performance department, mainly because she looks great and doesn't seem to have as many lines. On the other hand, it might be time for Affleck to cash it in. So far his best roles have been in top-notch ensemble pieces like Dazed and Confused or Dogma where he can disappear among the talented ones. But here, all by himself -- and with an endless, shirtless, self-love scene in front of a mirror -- he's truly dreadful.

I'm not sure yet if Gigli is the worst film ever made, but I'd at least like to nominate John Powell's music score as the worst ever. If any of the speeches and endless, endless dialogue scenes couldn't get any longer or any worse, Powell's score almost always comes up to amplify them. The angel choir for Brian's big final scene is truly sickening.

Martin Brest began making snappy little comedies like Going in Style and Midnight Run and managed not to mess up Beverly Hills Cop too badly. But in the 90s, his movies grew longer and less funny, stretching out into atrocities like Scent of a Woman and Meet Joe Black. Gigli has to be his breaking point. It would perhaps be polite for him to step down and retire now. If he made anything else, I'm afraid the sucking noise would kill us all.

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