Gigli review by Mike Long

During the 80s and early 90s, I was often the victim of spoilers (mostly thanks to Fangoria Magazine). But, as I got older, I learned to shy away from movie publicity, thus ensuring a surprising experience once I got to see the film in question. But, there was no way to avoid the buzz surrounding Gigli over the past year. Whether it be from the mainstream press, the gossip rags, or the Kevin Smith faithful, everyone was talking about the Ben Affleck & Jennifer Lopez film and the rumors that it was a glorified mess. The hype may have created interest in the film, but not enough to get butts in the seats, as the movie tanked at the box-office. Now that Gigli is coming to DVD, I'm sure that the curious will want to check it out to see if it really is the worst film ever made.

Ben Affleck stars as Larry Gigli, a small-time hitman. (Gigli is pronounced like "really", Larry often reminds us throughout the film.) Gigli works for a neurotic criminal named Louis (Larry Venito), who has just given Gigli a new assignment. He is to kidnap a young man named Brian (Justin Bartha), who is the brother of a federal prosecutor, as a favor to someone who is facing federal charges. Brian is mentally challenged and is easily persuaded to accompany Gigli back to his apartment. Once there, a woman named Ricki (Jennifer Lopez) arrives. She has been hired by Louis to watch Gigli as he watches Brian. Gigli is furious that his skills are being called into question, but as he finds Ricki attractive, he's not entirely mad. Unfortunately, when he makes a move on her, she reveals that she is a lesbian. Now, Gigli is trapped in his apartment with a woman that he desires, but can't have, and a young man who is mentally challenged and loves rap music. This odd trio must find a way to live together until Louis calls with their next move.

First of all, Gigli isn’t the worst movie ever made. It’s not even the worst movie of 2003. (That honor goes to The Order.) But, Gigli is a very bad movie, as it suffers from bad casting, bad direction, and a terrible script. The story itself isn’t all that bad, and could have made for a good movie. But, there are several scenes which are far too similar to the Ben Affleck classic Chasing Amy, and one has to wonder why Affleck took this part when he’d already made a similar film. Speaking of Affleck, Larry Gigli is apparently supposed to be a tough loner, but Affleck simply can’t pull off that kind of part. Especially not in this film, when he looks as if he’s on the verge of laughing in each scene. This may have been the movie where “Ben & Jen” met and fell in love, but they apparently kept all of that off-camera, because they have no chemistry whatsoever in this movie. Their scenes together are dull and lifeless, and believe everything that you’ve heard -- “It’s turkey time. Gobble, gobble.” may be the worst line in movie history and it’s certainly one of the raunchiest ever uttered in a mainstream film.

The tone of the film is also questionable. Is this a comedy? Is it a drama? (Throughout the movie I kept looking at my wife and saying, “Is that supposed to be funny?” She would just shrug her shoulders and look at her watch.) The scenes with Brian are especially awkward. There appeared to be some comedic material there, but this certainly isn’t a Farrelly Brothers movie, so I never knew if I was supposed to be laughing or not. And, of course, then you’ve got the fact that Gigli drives his hostage around L.A. in a convertible. Were the writers mentally challenged? Writer/director Martin Brest has made some good films in the past (Midnight Run, Beverly Hills Cop), but Gigli is a complete mess. With the amount of talent involved, the movie should have at least been watchable. As it stands, Gigli is a train-wreck of missed opportunities which will now only be known as a novelty piece.

Gigli dares to show its face on DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. The DVD contains both a full-screen and widescreen version of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.40:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image here is sharp, but there is a very fine sheen of noticeable grain on the image throughout the film. There is also some noticeable edge-enhancements and slight haloes around some objects. The colors look good and the framing appears to be accurate. The DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and some occasional effects. There isn’t much in the way of surround sound, save for musical cues. The only extra on the DVD is the original theatrical trailer for Gigli. Sure, the movie’s bad, but a “making of” featurette wouldn’t have made it any worse. Beside, I want to know who’s responsible for this mess.

3 out of 10 Jackasses

blog comments powered by Disqus