Gigli (2003)
Main cast: Ben Affleck (Larry Gigli), Jennifer Lopez (Ricki), Justin Bartha (Brian), and Lenny Venito (Louis)
Director: Martin Brest


Let this be a lesson to wannabe mediawhores out there: overdoing that media thing can kill your movie. Witness Gigli. It's far from the worst movie of all time, it's just a lousy movie handicapped by a really inept script. The acting isn't bad, and there are really good scenes - few, but there are good scenes. Mostly, though, Gigli comes off like an amateur's too-enthusiastic attempt to emulate Leonard Elmore.

It all begins when a mobster hires a crime thug to kidnap the mentally handicapped brother of a federal prosecutor. In turn, Louis, this thug, commands his underling Larry Gigli to carry out the job. Larry brings this mentally handicapped kid Brian to his pad, wondering what to do with this Brian that wants to go to "Baywatch", a place where Brian idealizes as a heaven with scantily clad girls and intellectual nirvana. Louis doesn't trust Larry to carry out this gig successfully, so he sends Ricki over to "assist" Larry. Larry likes Ricki, but Ricki announces that she's a lesbian. Oh dear.

The biggest problem with Gigli - Ben Affleck's "I'm A Brylcreem Dick" hairstyle aside - is that the script doesn't have much of a substance and it tries so badly to kill time by adding scenes that do not work at all. Much of the movie focuses on Larry verbally abusing Brian and Brian acting like, well, a mentally-handicapped kid, and Ricki acting like the new big-assed PC Lesbian Guru to mediate between the two men. It is not funny to see mentally handicapped people acting loud and annoying, just as it is not funny to see people verbally abusing said handicapped folks. I am bewildered at how Ricki can be so PC, so wise, so obviously a plot contrivance as opposed to being a well-drawn character.

There is nothing wrong with the acting - the actors are doing what the horrible script is asking them to do, and I have to give them credit that they manage to acquit themselves without me wanting to poke an operating eggbeater into my eye. But the pace is awfully slow and the lines are horrible. I'm sure everyone has heard of that infamous "It's turkey time, gobble gobble!" line by now, and it's actually worse when one actually watches the movie.

The last fifteen minutes of Gigli is surprisingly good. There are some good scenes too, especially those politically incorrect scenes where Larry denigrates lesbianism and defends the penis while Ricki easily punctures holes in all his ramblings.

At the end of the day though, Gigli is nowhere as bad as it is hyped to be. It's just a meandering, uneven movie with some of the worst lines ever and maybe some of the best scenes ever too. There are worse movies that came out around the same time that Gigli did, so people expecting a truly horrific movie will be keenly disappointed.

So, kiddies, learn from Uncle Ben and Auntie Jen: sometimes it's best to just keep the love life thing as much under wraps as possible instead of using it as a marketing tool for street cred, perfumes, movie, whatever. There's a lesson learned the hard way in Gigli, so at least it's not so much a complete loss, I guess.

Rating: 52


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