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Gigli (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer.

THERE is a moment, midway through the ‘romantic gangster movie’, Gigli, when lesbian hit-woman, Jennifer Lopez, lies back on a bed and seductively tells would-be boyfriend, Ben Affleck, that it’s ‘turkey time’, before inviting him to ‘gobble, gobble’. It serves as an appropriate metaphor for the rest of proceedings.

Movies don’t come much worse than this spectacularly misjudged ‘star vehicle’, which sets new standards in bad taste, and which carries the unwanted stench of a rotting carcass long before the Christmas season is even upon us.

Gigli is one the year’s true stinkers, a film which is as romantically inept as its leading protagonists, and which seems to strive to reach ever more ridiculous scenarios, all of which lead, in some way, to sex.

Directed by Martin Brest (of Scent of a Woman and Midnight Run fame), the film finds Affleck as lowly thug, Gigli, who lets love get in the way of a high-risk mob assignment.

When Gigli is ordered to kidnap the psychologically challenged younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor in order to save his boss from a long stretch in prison, he doesn’t count on the unwanted attentions of Lopez’s Ricki, a free-spirited female gangster, who has been asked to ‘babysit’ the operation.

Yet their initial hatred for each other quickly gives way to affection, as the two begin to develop a mutual respect for each other, despite the fact that Ricki is a lesbian.

The ensuing romantic comedy plays out like ‘Dumbfellas’ mixed with Rain Man, with a spot of Baywatch thrown in. In short, it is a travesty.

For starters, the much-hyped first on-screen pairing of Affleck and J-Lo is a curiously lacklustre affair, given that the stars possess little or no chemistry whatsoever.

Lopez is merely embarrassing as she attempts to turn her hip hit-woman into a cool, sassy customer, particularly when asked to perform yoga while explaining why a woman’s sexual organs are far more attractive than men’s; while Affleck merely looks embarrassed, and is frequently the butt of the jokes.

Their relationship fails to generate any interest, save for seeing just how humiliating things can become, while their treatment of Justin Bartha’s psychologically unstable Brian borders on the reprehensible, and also fails to generate any of the required sympathy.

Brest’s direction labours under the weight of the absurdity of its premise and remains uninspired throughout, while not even the presence of cameos from Christopher Walken and Al Pacino can do anything to enliven the tediousness of the whole affair.

In fact, viewers will be rubbing their eyes in disbelief at seeing two such heavyweight performers slumming it in something so dire - although, at least Walken has the good grace to look as though he has wondered onto the wrong set for his brief appearance, rather than adopting Pacino’s stance of hamming it up even more outrageously than he did during the finale of The Devil’s Advocate.

Needless to say, Pacino is the mob boss at the centre of the kidnap fiasco, and his appearance only serves to confirm what viewers will have already realised - that the whole plan was a mess from start to finish (ie, you don’t kidnap the brother of a federal prosecutor and expect nothing to happen, and you especially don’t clown around while doing so!).

But then again, this is a movie whose brain belongs in its pants, and which deserves to be roasted for the turkey it truly is.

 

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