Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha
Director: Martin Brest
Running Time: 121 mins
Gigli is an American film about an aspiring gangster and another criminal who kidnap the mentally disabled son of the chief prosecutor of a high-profile gangster’s case to use as a bargaining chip, however friendship and romance soon get in the way of their plans.
It’s always strange to see a film try to take on every single genre under the sun, but Gigli does exactly that, blending comedy, drama, romance, crime and everything in between in an absolute mess of a movie, featuring ridiculous twists, awkward dialogue, unlikable characters and fairly poor performances, there’s very little to praise about it, making for two hours of very, very annoying watching.
Before I get into why the film is so frustrating, I will say that it has one saving grace: its unintentional fun factor. The film is meant to be funny at times, but the entertainment that I found came from enjoying it as a so-bad-it’s-good movie, taking in all of the most ridiculous and stupid moments instead of actually finding the intended comedy funny. Even if that’s not the desired effect, it does make Gigli a slightly more pleasant watch than something painfully dull and ridiculous.
With all that said, however, there’s no avoiding the fact that this movie is a real mess. Above all, its story is all over the place, trying to mimic great crime movies with its many twists and turns, but instead ending up as a very convoluted and consistently annoying watch, where the intended drama and thrills are completely washed away by a plot that just doesn’t make any real sense.
Of course, this movie isn’t just a crime film, because there’s romance to it as well. However, that’s just as frustrating to watch as the crime story, because you effectively spend an hour or so watching Ben Affleck play a man filled with testosterone unnervingly staring at Jennifer Lopez, until the point where the two all of a sudden fall for one another.
I can’t say that the pair don’t have good chemistry on screen, because they do, but the characters they play are so shallow and unlikable, one a laddish and idiotic man, and the other a woman who doesn’t seem to fit in as a so-called criminal at all, that there’s no reason you would ever support their relationship, meaning that you have no emotional attachment to that side of the story.
On the performances, there’s also a slightly iffy turn from Justin Bartha, who plays the mentally disabled man that the pair kidnap, and then form a friendship with. Now, while he’s undoubtedly the most likable character in the movie, I found his performance a little too much. Perhaps it’s because it was in the context of an overall ridiculous film, however it really felt to me as if he was overacting with the physical and verbal tics of his character, something that’s really distracting and often a lot more laughable than it should be.
Finally, the screenplay doesn’t do its characters any favours when it comes to good dialogue. Martin Brest already makes a mess of the film through his confused atmosphere, mixing all manner of genres together, but when it comes to the script, there’s no dialogue whatsoever that makes the characters seem human.
With a clear preference for swearing and shouting over intelligent dialogue, you’ll be exhausted with the dialogue here within minutes, and it only gets worse as the cheesy, romantic elements come into play as well. So, in the end, you have a few main characters who aren’t particularly interesting or likable speaking fairly dull and annoying dialogue, in the midst of a ridiculous plot that’s far funnier than it’s meant to be, and nowhere near as interesting or dramatic, and that’s why I’m giving Gigli a 3.9 overall.