All reviews all the time! Home   Movies   Music   Video Games
4 DVDs 49 cents each!  |  Rent Dvds- Free Trial  |  Buy Movie Posters  

 Search Amazon
  Browse Movies 

 Browse by Genre 

 Other Movie/Video Review

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Gigli

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Martin Brest
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: August 2003
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, Justin Bartha, Terry Camilleri, Missy Crider, Alex Fatovich, Shelby Fenner, Jenna Fischer, Brian Sites, David Pressman

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Susan Granger read the review no stars
3.  Steve Rhodes read the review video review
4.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
5.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
1½ stars out of 4

Press notes for "Gigli" have the usual disclaimer: "The characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

As with Paul Verhoeven's 1995 movie "Showgirls," the statement has as much utility for those who have seen "Gigli" as has the proverbial bicycle for a fish. And you can bet that Martin Brest ("Meet Joe Black," "Scent of a Woman," "Beverly Hills Cop") will insist as did Verhoeven eight years ago that he means his film to be taken seriously and not as camp, parody or anything but a literal take on how human beings can radically change one another during a period of a few days in the City of Angels. Brest is no stranger to implausibilities, as those who sat through his 157-minute "Scnet of a Woman" can testify. Taking off from what critic David Thomson states in his wonderful "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film," "the suggestion that any army would ever have made Al Pacino a colonel still seems to me the greatest comic coup in the picture," anyone who can view Pacino as a top-of-the-line gangster given the role of an insane person who is tamed by J.Lo's monologue has a good imagination.

As the director of the 1984 "Beverly Hills Cop," Brest is no stranger to pictures about warped people who must learn to get along. At least there was no doubt that comedy was the name of the game given Eddie Murphy's role as a guy who always with-it. The comedy and violent action could be accepted. "Gigli," by contrast, does not click because neither Jennifer Lopez nor Ben Affleck comes across as a match for Murphy's comic style. By using them as a two people, strangers to each other until a fateful meeting in a run-down section of town who by steps reach out to each other, Brest is playing the romance game whose principal maxim is "Keep the two people apart in a state of sexual tension until they inevitably resolve their differences at the conclusion." Fair enough. That's what we expect, but however implausible their connection (she's a lesbian and he is straight), we've given a buddy movie, a gangster theme, a coming-of-age story, all executed in far less time than was given to Brest's "Meet Joe Black." Perhaps such a jumble of genres could click, but so many scenes are outrageously unbelievable that the best the company can hope for are unintentional laughs by the carload.

The story takes off when a punk hit-man, Louis (Lenny Venito) gives his subordinate Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) an assignment. Kidnap Brian (Justin Bartha), the brain-damaged brother of a federal prosecutor, and agree to release the teenager only if the D.A. drops all charges against one Starkman (Al Pacino). Because Louis has little faith in Gigli's competence, he assigns another gangster, Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), to manipulate her way into Gigli's apartment to watch over him while he in turn is instructed to watch over her. During the course of their brief relationship, the undereducated Gigli,no match for Ricki's intelligence and charisma, is forced to reevaluate his life as a small-timer with a pompadour who thinks the year is 1960. When Louis orders Gigli to cut off the boy's thumb and mail it to the prosecutor, both Gigli and his co-conspirator, Ricki, have second thoughts about the job and about their chosen profession third thoughts, we could add, once Ricki and Gigli are introduced to a terrifying Starkman, who reads both Louis and them the riot act as only Al Pacino can do.

Aside from cutting off more genres than he can chew in a single, short film, Brest seals the fate of the story by a string of situations so unbelievable that we can accept Austin Powers as a legitimate, competent special agent before we can go along with any of the myriad of jaw-dropping incredulousness in "Gigli," to wit:

If Larry Gigli was ashamed of his name which no-one can pronounce why not go by a different one? How is Gigli able to walk the mentally challenged boy out of the institution without anyone's checking his identity? Why do both Gigli and Ricki assume that the boy will stay quietly in the bedroom while a federal agent (Christopher Walken in the best few minutes of the film) is in the living room questioning and intimidating Gigli about the young man's whereabouts? When the deal with the sawed-off thumb fails to convince the federal prosecutor that the digit belongs to his brother, why does Starkman take out his anger on Louis, who delivered the order correctly but had his order ignored by Ricki and Gigli? Why do the crew and cast of Baywatch, which the kid was so eager to see, allow the young man on the set clothed in a leather jacket while everyone else is in swim attire and accept him as just another dancer? Why would lesbians in the audience accept the realization of a male fantasy that if the right guy comes along, he can "cure" the woman of her sexual desire for other women? Why do Ricki and Gigli engage in their long-awaited first sexual encounter fully clothed? How has the mentally challenged young man who takes to Larry as a substitute dad become virtually articulate, chucking his incoherent babbling by the conclusion of the story after just a few days' interaction with Gigli?

Like "Showgirls," however, the movie is not a bore. You won't look at your watch but will pay attention, eager to take in yet another howler. In fact, paradoxically, some of the theatrical goings-on such as the monologue indulged in by Ricki while she is performing erotic yoga position, the crazed speech by Starkman, even the knowing looks exchanged between the detective and the gangster are attention-getters. What's more as this year Rain Man, NYU graduate and New York resident Justin Bartha turns in a fine debut performance, a guy who does not appear overly intimidated by the heavy hitters he's with.

Copyright İ 2003 Harvey Karten

More reviews:    Main  2   3   4   5   Next >>
buy dvd

buy video

read the reviews

In Affiliation with
Buy movie posters!

Home | Movies | Music | Video Games | Songs | | | Columbia House | Netflix

Copyright İ 1998-2002
Privacy Policy |  Advertising Info |  Contact Us