Gigli: The First of Affleck’s Embarrassments
DIRECTED BY: Martin Brest
STARRING: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
COUNTRY: United States
A lowly thug, Gigli, is assigned to kidnap the psychologically challenged younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor to save his mobster boss from incarceration. Staked-out in his one-bedroom apartment with his kidnap victim, Brian, Gigli soon realizes that what he thought would be a routine assignment soon becomes a tumultuous task. Ricki, a gorgeous, free-spirited female gangster is sent to assist Gigli with the kidnapping because his boss does not think that Gigli is up to the job. But when his feelings for the decidedly unavailable Ricki begin to grow, and he actually becomes concerned for Brian, tough guy Gigli begins to transform into an actual human being…which considering his profession could be a very dangerous occupation.
I approached the most mocked movie of the year ignoring the months of anti-hype, scattered behind-the-scenes turmoil, and the media blitzkrieg that set out to destroy the creation known as “Bennifer,” the conjoining of stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Gigli is not the Thanksgiving turkey that the minions of star-haters would have you believe. Rather, it is a highly curious film that is not so much poor as it is the victim of its own unfortunate media backlash.
From his opening lines, it becomes clear that Affleck’s performance is utterly terrible. Clad in a series of bowling shirts, leather jackets, and wifebeaters, and with his hair slicked back, Affleck’s Gigli is like a hyperchauvinistic parody of Travolta’s Chili Palmer inGet Shorty, and speaks—nay, yells—all his lines in an absurd Jersey accent.
The sexual politics of Gigli are so last century. Gigli views Ricki as a lesbian who can be turned straight by his relentless machismo, while Ricki’s version of flirting with Gigli consists of undercutting it (usually by calling him “gay,” or asking if he’s gay). Unlike another Affleck vehicle, Chasing Amy, this film presents the male fantasy of scaring a lesbian straight via their masculinity in such outrageously dumb fashion that it’s offensive. And, when Gigli and Ricki eventually get down and dirty, Lopez kicks off the proceedings by spreading her legs, and unleashing this head-scratcher of an oral sex invite: “It’s turkey time … Gobble gobble.”
- A curious film plagued by bad press.
- “Turkey Time”.
- Poor main cast performance.
- Sexual politics.
- Failed accents.
SCORE: 3.5 / 10
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