A review of “Gigli” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: * 1/2

Rating: R for language, nudity, and violence

Run Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

 

 

Publicity for this precocious mob comedy/drama has been heavily focused on Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’ onscreen chemistry.  Do they or don’t they?  Bottom line, it’s irrelevant.  “Gigli” is so misguided that sparks between the leads is the least of its worries.

Larry Gigli (Affleck) is a mob small-timer, a dim-watt bozo who kidnaps a powerful federal prosecutor’s mentally-challenged brother (Justin Bartha as Brian) and holds him hostage until the proper pressure can be put to the proper parties.  Not willing to risk such a delicate operation with a loose cannon in charge, big boss Louis (Lenny Venito) dispatches gorgeous New Age gangster Ricki (Lopez) to co-chair the situation.

More than a little miffed at the professional slight, Gigli (rhymes with “rea-lly”) does his best to turn a blind eye to Ricki’s keen intellect and bodacious booty.  With little success.  As Gigli and Ricki impatiently wait out their job instructions (and cope with the baffling shenanigans of their idiot savant roomie), something akin to a friendship develops, fraught with the ups and downs of sexual tension (his).

Perhaps “Gigli” would have clicked if it had a plot.  Or the least little bit of focus. Short of a barely-burgeoning romance (that loses its flicker when Ricki announces that she’s gay), nothing of significance transpires.  The script is an abomination – full of insulting cracks at homophobia, crass references to mental retardation, and countless allusions to the illustrious nature of the vagina.

File it away under Weird: over-the-top single-scenes from Christopher Walken as a paranoid cop, and Al Pacino as a whacked-out mafia kingpin, whose unhappiness regarding the deteriorating kidnap operation manifests itself into one of his trademark tirades.

Call me crazy, but I’ve always enjoyed Affleck’s and J. Lo’s individual screen presence.  Each is capable of comfortably headlining a film, exuding genuine qualities that almost transcend the material.  Affleck’s macho posturing is tinged with vulnerability, and J. Lo’s fresh looks and authentic emotion are easily accessible. But “Gigli” smacks of nothing more than a poorly executed vanity project – albeit one that united Hollywood’s most infamous A-list couple.