A central relationship built around two people with exactly zero chemistry… An overly convoluted kidnapping plot involving a mentally challenged, Baywatch obsessed man-child… Pointless cameos from Christopher Walken and Al Pacino perpetuating all the negative opinions we have about the modern work of these once-great (still can be great when they try) actors… When watching Gigli, the question isn’t “What went wrong?”, it’s “How did any these ingredients result in a movie being made at all?”
Why did writer / director Martin Brest bother finishing the screenplay? Surely by the time he wrote “mentally challenged man, obsessed with Baywatch”
in his outline, he knew he was on a stinker. Why did the studio think a combined $25million for Affleck and Lopez was a good investment when the script was so terrible? Even after all that, once it was made, why did anyone involved think it was worth ruining their reputations for the foreseeable future by letting it be released. Oh yes, Gigli
lives down to every negative thing you’ve ever heard about it.
Affleck is Larry, a low level mob enforcer who’s instructed to kidnap the brother of a District Attorney or something. I can’t be sure of the specifics, because I did find myself distracted and zoning out for long stretches. The kidnapee is played Justin Bartha, he’s the “other guy” from The Hangover movies. You know, the one who disappears before the fun adventures begin. Here he goes, as Robert Downey Jr would say in Tropic Thunder, full retard. I don’t know if that statement is offensive, but I do know his performance is. J-Lo shows up as Ricki, another mob enforcer sent by Affleck’s boss to keep an eye on the kidnapping. Also, she’s a lesbian. Apparently, in Martin Brest’s world, that’s enough to make her a fully formed character.
Brest tries to give all his characters personality through monologues. Long, rambling, excruciating monologues. I think he might have been attempting a mix Tarantino “cool” and Kevin Smith “sexual frankness”, but they all just come off as indulgent wanks. Affleck, Lopez and Pacino all deliver them adequately, but when working with such hacky dialogue, the best performance in the world is still like putting lipstick on a pig.
On the one hand, I can understand how Gigli put Affleck in movie limbo for a few years. He does play the leading role in a truly terrible movie. But on the other hand, he also manages to make some of Brests’ terribleness not quite so terrible. There are a couple of genuinely funny moments where the humour consists of 1% joke, 99% Affleck working his ass off to make it at lease grin worthy. Seeing him turn this massive lemon into a few drops of lemonade, it seems inevitable that he became a directing and acting A-lister when the stank of Gigli finally wore off a few years later.
I generally don’t enjoy watching movies that are so bad, they’re good, but I get it when other people do. Gigli doesn’t even have that going for it. It’s a mess, but not even an entertaining mess that falls apart under too much ambition. It aims low and somehow hits even lower. One thing worse than a bad movie, is a boring, bad movie. Even worse than a boring, bad movie, is Gigli.
Budget $75.6million / U.S Box Office $7.2million
Worst Actor – Ben Affleck
Worst Screen Couple – Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
Worst Director – Martin Brest
Worst Screenplay – Martin Brest
Directed By – Martin Brest
Written By – Martin Brest
Instead of Gigli, watch proof that Martin Brest can make a really funny crime adventure, with Midnight Run