Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's "Gigli" that bad

Every time I see a movie that is absolutely terrible I am somewhat confused as to how it came to be.  Movie studios, which are presumably profitable enterprises, spend hundreds of millions of dollars producing and marketing films and at the end of the movie there is a list of hundreds of names of people that contributed to the production , and somehow nobody in this massive network of gaffers, best boy grips and associate producers realized this movie s**ked?  I do not understand how a human being can spend the better part of a year on a project and not realize it is going horribly wrong and the finished product will be a disaster of epic proportions. “Gigli” falls into this category, when it was released in 2003, it was universally panned by critics, ignored by audiences, ridiculed by talk show hosts and lead to the eventual dissolution of “Bennifer.” However, all of those factors were not enough to scare me away, I wanted to see this type of large scale failure for myself (I’m kind of a hater, I also cheered wildly when the Detroit Lions went 0-16 last year) and judge if this movie was really as bad as I had been told.  

The main components of “Gigli” include: an organized crime figure learning a new word everyday from the dictionary, a Baywatch-obsessed mentally challenged man with a strange fetish for Australian accents, Ben Affleck acting like more of a buffoon than usual, Jennifer Lopez portraying a lesbian gun moll, an uncredited appearance by Al Pacino (he was probably embarrassed to have his name on this mess), the removal of a thumb from a human cadaver with plastic cutlery, an old woman receiving a shot of insulin in her bare buttocks and a lesbian slitting her wrists due to relationship issues...sounds like a winner right?  I am not sure how none of the parties involved realized how bad this was going to turn out because I would have figured it out after reading the paragraph above.  

The utter absurdness of this movie is hard to grasp without seeing it  for yourself, I had heard for years that it was one of the worst movies ever made, but I found it somewhat hard to believe. Both of the lead actors have decidedly mixed track records, Jennifer Lopez has made near-classics like “Out of Sight” and “The Cell” and really bad, formulaic movies made to cash in on her fame like “Maid in Manhattan” and “Enough.” Similarly, Ben Affleck has done quality work in “Good Will Hunting” and “Daredevil” but also made nonsense like “Reindeer Games” and “Armageddon.” Keeping this in mind I wanted to give “Gigli” a chance because I figured both actors are pretty good when they are at their best and there would probably be some on-screen chemistry considering they were a couple during the filming of the movie...WRONG! The acting is terrible, Lopez seems uptight and completely unconvincing as a lesbian contract killer and Affleck appears to be mocking stereotypical gangster speech patterns and accents until he completely breaks character and tells Lopez to respect his hustle in a Hip-Hop slang infused tirade that can best be described as Tony Danza reading the lyrics to an Ice-T album. 

The premise of the movie is that a mobster needs to prevent a federal prosecutor from putting his boss in prison, so he does the only sensible thing by hiring Lopez and Affleck  to kidnap his mentally challenged brother (this is already a classic based on premise alone). While holding the man hostage it becomes clear that he is obsessed with Baywatch and has a disturbing fetish for the Australian woman that works at a weather hotline, while I am not disputing that mentally handicapped people have sexual urges, I am disputing the idea that there is room for this kind of disturbing imagery in a big-budget hollywood movie starring two of the most famous people in the world. Also, while Ben and Jen’s career’s got back on track after this foolishness, they guy that played the kidnapped brother was basically kicked out of Hollywood for portraying slow adults in such a demeaning manner.    As they hold him hostage Ben Affleck becomes attracted to Lopez (big surprise!) and when he makes advances toward her, instead of politely turning him down so they can continue with their mission she launches into an asinine soliloquy about the desirability of the vagina compared to the penis.  I’m sure that whoever wrote this script thought this would be the hottest speech ever committed to celluloid, but the words are so stupid and the delivery is so stiff that it is hard to watch it with a straight face, much less be turned on.  

Eventually, Affleck and Lopez sleep together (either she was never 100% sure about being a homosexual or she couldn’t resist Affleck’s “extra on The Sopranos” charm, it’s never fully explained) and the love scene is arguably the worst I’ve ever seen.  I can’t understand how two international sex symbols with a professionally written script and the best make-up, lighting and camera work that money can buy could make a scene this insipid.  Honestly, celebrities make better sex tapes than this with camera-phones in dimly light hotel rooms...or so I’ve heard.

The movie finishes with Al Pacino coming out of nowhere to kill the guy that orchestrated this whole ordeal, Lopez and Affleck riding happily into the sunset and the mentally challenged man dancing with an Australian woman on the set of something that resembles “MTV’s Spring Break.” 

While “Gigli” is terrible, unintentionally funny, about as sexy as Artie Lange playing XBOX in boxers & dress socks and has no redeeming qualities I am not prepared to name it the worst movie I’ve ever seen. The first “Hulk” movie, 90% of all romantic comedies and pretty much all straight-to-DVD horror movies are worse than this and I have not seen other notoriously bad movies like “Battlefield Earth” or “Ishtar” to make comparisons, but “Gigli” is incredibly bad and I would not recommend using the DVD for anything other than a drink coaster.   

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