Awfully Good: Gigli
Happy Valentine’s Day! This year I got you something better than chocolate, flowers or desperate sex.
Director: Martin Brest
Stars: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha
Is there a plot?
The touching story of a lowlife gangster, a lesbian criminal and the kidnapped retarded kid who showed them how to love.
What's the damage?
In my review of THE TOWN, I said it was so good that Ben Affleck was forgiven for GIGLI. Having recently rewatched GIGLI, I realize the error in my hyperbole.
Ben awaits his taco-flavored kisses.
GIGLI is so legendarily bad, that it can only exist as a matter of circumstance. I refuse to believe that people like Martin Brest (director of BEVERLY HILLS COP and the severely underrated MIDNIGHT RUN), Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and even "Bennifer" would agree to take part in something that was this awful from the start. Surely at some point, the studio must've interfered with ridiculous demands and damning reshoots. A warehouse fire had to have burned entire reels of film, leaving the salvaged mess we see here. Hell, I'll even take alien abduction or government conspiracies as valid options. There’s really no other imaginable way to explain how a major motion picture could turn out so badly.
And that's the face of someone who's just realized their Fleshlight is just a flashlight.
As it stands, GIGLI is an unmitigated disaster—full of shockingly bad dialogue, career-low performances and a plot entirely undeserving of cinema. The story progression involves Ben Affleck kidnapping a mentally handicapped teen and trying to bone a lesbian (again). That's it—and it's stretched to over two hours in length. In place of things like meaningful subplots, character arcs and general complications you get a slew of characters that only exist for one scene and serve no purpose. There's Christopher Walken as a cop who starts to interrogate Ben Affleck then speaks in gibberish about Marie Calender pies and disappears. Al Pacino shows up to yell and scream at the main couple with his ponytail before ultimately doing nothing and going away. Lainie Kazan plays Affleck's diabetic mom in one brief scene, whose character is defined solely by her need to get insulin shots in her thonged ass. My personal favorite, however, is Missy Crider as Jennifer Lopez's former lesbian lover, who literally knocks on Ben Affleck's door, slits her wrists and then is never heard from again. (Perhaps a metaphor for the audience?) None of these characters add anything to the film, aside from cheap star power and a healthy sense of "WTF?!"
Though he's no longer with us, Michael Jackson's legacy lives on in crotches of today's youth.
Even at its core, there was never a recipe for success in GIGLI. For starters, here's some things I don't want in my romantic comedy: mobsters dealing with their feminine side, gruff lesbian bitches, and rapping handicapped people—just to name a few. The tone of the movie is also indecipherable. The romance subplot is full of unappealing discussions of human sexuality and anatomy, not to mention two stars who were dating at the time but have no chemistry together on screen. There's drama about the mob (wait til you hear J. Lo quote Sun Tzu) and a surprising amount of dark subject matter, most of which involves Ben Affleck yelling at or striking a mentally disabled kid. And the comedy—oh, the comedy—which is all unintentional. The things people say in GIGLI are phenomenal, like Affleck's bovine metaphors about men and women or his grandiose speeches about pleasing women and pearls emanating forth from his body, But nothing can explain Jennifer Lopez's famous "It's turkey time. Gobble gobble!" line, which might win the award for least sexy pre-coitus invitation ever.
"You seen Dorian Gray, right? It's like that. He's the literal embodiment of my career."
However, special (no pun intended) mention goes to Brian the mentally retarded teenager played by Justin Bartha of NATIONAL TREASURE and THE HANGOVER fame. (I can't be the only person who saw THE HANGOVER and thought, 'No wonder they lost Doug; he requires adult supervision at all times.') Bartha acts like he has Tourette's more than a mental disability and his performance is pretty much a borderline offensive RAIN MAN impression, full of inappropriate cursing, random Ebonics/rapping, and perverted lines. (Seriously, the poor kid just wants to have sex, or as he calls it “make my penis sneeze.") And I'd like to point out just how easy it apparently is to kidnap a retarded person. Ben Affleck literally just walks in to a school and takes one with him, without anyone asking questions or caring.
Seriously, this movie might have a bigger mental handicap than its characters.
An amazing collection of lines from Ben Affleck, Christopher Walken and Jennifer Lopez that you won't believe actually made it in to the script.
1) Ben Affleck admires himself in the mirror and then attempts to seduce Jennifer Lopez's lesbian character. I'll let you guess how that turns out. (Hint: FAIL)
2) Ben Affleck explains his strategy on how to please a woman, which involves a brief history of the evolution of the penis, before Jennifer Lopez schools him.
3) Some of Justin Bartha's best moments as the foul mouthed, perverted, rapping mentally challenged kid. Yeah, it's as awful as you imagine.
You get 63 year old Lainie Kazan's ass in a thong. This movie continues to hate you.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Affleck mentions the bull and the cow
- Affleck says the word "pearls"
- Affleck reads product placement
- Affleck yells at a retarded person
- Brian raps or dances
- Horrible romantic music plays
Double shot if:
- The term "heterolingus" is coined
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.