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Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

Starring: Rob Schneider, Bree Turner
Director: Mike Mitchell
Rated: R
RunTime: 88 Minutes
Release Date: December 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Eddie Griffin, Oded Fehr

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Freud said, "What do women want?" Now the answer. According to scripters Harris Goldberg and Rob Schneider, they want men to make them feel good about themselves. "Men worry about the size of their penises," say the writers through one of the characters, "But women are anxious about their entire bodies." Well, then, no matter what we think of the down-and-dirty humor of this extended Saturday Night Live Sketch, we men know what to do next time we're out with the women, thanks the lessons taught by Goldberg and Schneider. Say nice things about them. You don't have to be handsome or muscular or have a sexy foreign accent like the real gigolo of Mike Mitchell's frequently riotous comedy, Antoine Laconte (Oded Fehr). And relax. Size doesn't matter either. What counts is your line of patter, but make it all sound sincere. Women who feel good about themselves will like you.

That's pretty much the Western Union of this movie, but purport doesn't count. Physical and verbal humor do. And since sitcomish parody is about us human beings acting pretty silly, who better for the main role than Rob Schneider-- the delivery guy in "Big Daddy"--for the nebbishy and clumsy title figure? Deuce cleans pools in the L.A. area for a living and knows his fish but he can't score a date even with the local bimbo who clerks in the pet fish store. While examining the $6000 tank of a strikingly handsome gigolo, Antoine, he notes that one of the expensive fish is sick and needs daily care. Since Antoine must leave for Switzerland on a business trip, he agrees to hire Deuce to housesit for a few weeks on condition that Deuce never answer the phone and that he keep the house clean--threatening the poor guy's life with a series of expensive weapons that serve as collector's items on his walls. Needless to say, Deuce satisfies neither condition and soon he is hired as a "he-bitch," i.e. a "whore- man" by an aggregation of women, each with a defect that prevents her from meeting guys on her own. T.J. Hicks (Eddie Griffin) serves as pimp, clueing in the new worker in this comedy of role reversal, and leading Deuce into bizarre adventures with the customers. Kate (Arija Bareikis), who seems perfect, warns Deuce in bed that there is something mighty strange about her body--can he take it? Big Boy (Jabba Lady), whose mind is on food more than on sex, has a special bodily need that she asks her male hooker to satisfy while Ruth (Amy Poehler), a sweet little woman afflicted with Tourette's syndrome, comes out frequently with curses that she cannot help vocalizing. Throughout the film, Deuce is pursued by an off-the-wall detective (William Forsythe) who is ostensibly out to bust Antoine but as we learn in the film's finale, has another agenda in mind.

Director Mike Mitchell mines vulgarity for what it's worth, not satisfied going with mere physical humor. Deuce's dad, Bob Bigalow (Richard Riehle), gives bathroom humor an absolutely literal meaning, serving as the men's room attendant in a restaurant who plunges the plot into the depths of toilet jokes.

Even at 85 minutes, some of the skits become tiresome, particularly that involving Ruth's Tourette's syndrome. How many times do we have to hear her screaming obscenities for no apparent reason at passers-by, and how often do we need to see Detective Fowler unzipping his pants to demonstrate, sadly, that he is as lean as Big Boy is hungry? Political correctness takes a vacation as director Mitchell evokes laughter at the expense of the blind, the amputee, the grossly overweight, the very tall, and the homely.

Given the low comedy that's come out during the past few years--"Clerks," "Mallrats," "There's Something About Mary," and from Scotland the inimitable "Trainspotting"--Mitchell can scarcely score points for originality or envelope-pushing. But as one fellow online critic said just before the start of the movie, "We're swamped with pictures about beheadings and burnings--"Sleepy Hollow," "The Messenger," "Anna and the King," "The Green Mile"--and with the usual crop of 3-hour- long December pictures. We need some comic relief--a nice, short, goofy flick like this one." Well said. "Deuce Bigalow" is satisfying comic relief sandwiched in among a thicket of melodrama.

Copyright 2000 Harvey Karten

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