Film Reviews

GIGLI

By • Aug 1st, 2003 •

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Columbia Pictures / Revolution Studios presents a City Light Films/Casey Silver production
Running time — 121 minutes / MPAA rating: R

Groveling Pat O’Brien of Access Hollywood licked Jennifer Lopez’s toes during his hour-long adoration fest for NBC’s Dateline. What an exclusive! Their first interview as a couple!

Bulletin from Reality to O’Brien: They are not history’s greatest love story. The British monarchy survived Princess Diana’s death and films will continue to be made long after Ben and Jen are gone.

Doesn’t O’Brien have an ounce of dignity left in his long career? O’Brien played hoops with Ben and watched Jen cook dinner for him. O’Brien disgraced himself by slobbering over these two as if they spoke to him from The Burning Bush. The Network treated it as if O’Brien had interviewed Saddam in hiding. This hour-long ad (“outtakes” played for days on The Today Show and all over tabloid TV) backfired shamefully.

O’Brien you lied to me!

This is a significant movie because it brings into question all the machinations that produced it. Lopez and Affleck are “supposed” to be huge stars. Who talked them into this dreadful script? The script, with its awful dialogue, had to be unreadable yet it moved forward. Why? First, it is written and directed by Martin Brest who made 1992’s SCENT OF A WOMAN. Al Pacino got an Academy Award for Best Actor beating out, among others, Clint Eastwood in UNFORGIVEN. Brest also directed 1998’s soggy MEET JOE BLACK. Did he do Brad Pitt’s career any favors?

Apparently, co-writing an Academy Award script (Affleck and Matt Damon wrote 1997’s Best Original Screenplay GOOD WILL HUNTING) does not necessarily mean you can read a script any better than anyone else. Well, William Goldman did co-write the script for DREAMCATCHER.

Another problem boldly presents itself. Affleck is a big man. IMDB.com lists his height at 6’2″. Traditionally, and yes I know there are major exceptions to this theory, actors and actresses are small in stature. There is something about the medium of film that greatly favors small actors. For every Kevin (“I’m six feet tall”) Costner, there are scores of “midgets” like Tom Cruise (famously called “a midget” by a colleague) and “leprechauns” like Colin Farrell (why has the British press labeled him a “lusty leprechaun”?) How tall is Olivier Martinez? Al Pacino is 5’6″. Only a very skilled director and cinematographer can frame a tall actor properly. This bizarre truth is clearly evident in GIGLI. Affleck’s face is way too long for the camera angles employed and it’s distracting. Most of the time he looks droopy. Tiny Lopez doesn’t fare any better. She actually looks tough and worn out. Her skin looks rough! So here is what we have so far: Horrible script and bad cinematography.

The acting? Well, it makes you wonder how in the world Brest directed Pacino to an Oscar. Again Affleck tears up. What is it with him and crying on camera? Didn’t I make a special plea to him to stop it? After a night of lovemaking, our stud Gigli lies against Ricki’s shoulder like a baby. She pats his head!

I blame Martin Brest for GIGLI’s spectacular failure.

Gigli (Affleck) is a mob enforcer who is constantly berated and humiliated by Ricki (Lopez). The banter is not cute. If indeed the character of Ricki is supposed to be an upfront, dedicated lesbian where in the world would sexual chemistry between her and Gigli come from? And all the talk between them about vaginas! Ricki gives us a Gray’s Anatomy lecture and it is not only long and hard on the ears, it’s boring.

Gigli is not the kind of gangster you want around. He is constantly referred to as incompetent. So his boss entrusts the task of kidnapping the D.A.’s “retarded” brother Brian (Justin Bartha) to stupid Gigli and then sends in Ricki to watch both of them. Tiny Lopez threatens to kick Gigli’s 6’2″ ass! Gigli’s mom (Lanie Kazan) humiliates herself by flirting with Ricki and kissing Gigli on the mouth. Christopher Walken shows up because Revolution Studios met his “quote” and Al Pacino shows up because he owed Brest a favor (or it was two days work and he has a huge court battle pending with Beverly D’Angelo.)

GIGLI is a wake up call to movie stars. Actors are really at the mercy of agents, writers, directors, cinematographers and the entire technical crew. Movie stars, if they really cared a twit about their careers, should be romancing writers, not each other.


Credits:
Screenwriter-director: Martin Brest
Producers: Casey Silver, Martin Brest
Executive producer: John Hardy
Director of photography: Robert Elswit
Production designer: Gary Frutkoff
Music: John Powell
Costume designer: Michael Kaplan
Editors: Billy Weber, Julie Monroe

Cast:
Larry Gigli: Ben Affleck
Ricki: Jennifer Lopez
Brian: Justin Bartha
Mother: Lainie Kazan
Robin: Missy Crider
Starkman: Al Pacino
Stanley Jacobellis: Christopher Walken

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