Gigli (2003)

I can’t believe I’m actually watching this again. I’m actually horrified at myself that, after doing a bit of late night channel surfing, I not only landed on this piece of shit but I didn’t take off from it the second I realised what it was. Back in the day Gigli had an unenviable reputation as one of the worst films of all time (and indeed it’s still on the IMDB Bottom 100), which was how I first heard of it, i.e. via the horrendous Internet buzz; needless to say my interest was piqued so I rented it as soon as it came out on DVD here (from memory it bypassed Australian cinemas entirely). And to be honest I didn’t think it was quite as bad as the hype would’ve had me believe… which didn’t mean it wasn’t a bad film, of course. I mean, this is the premise: Ben Affleck is a crook hired to kidnap this retarded young man for the purposes of extortion, but his boss doesn’t trust him so he hires Jennifer Lopez to oversee him. We are, essentially, asked to believe both of these people are career criminals, that she in particular is a lesbian, and that he in particular is able to overcome that fact and make her fall in love with him. The fact that they were a Hollywood glamour couple back then, indeed became one on the film set, makes their failure in this film to strike any chemistry up all the more fascinating; the strange anti-charisma they exude is remarkable. Director Martin Brest was only managing two films a decade before this anyway, but it’s notable that he hasn’t made anything since this; astonishingly, there was apparently a much longer director’s cut that Brest had to cut chunks from and partly reshoot when the studio decided the new glamour couple needed to, you know, not get killed at the end. Unfortunately, even if this version does or ever did exist, I imagine there’s still something too misguided at its core to save it… if anything, I now wonder was I too gentle on it back in 2003, cos this really is drivel, somehow never more loathsome than when it tries to be emotive in the last act; rarely has Hollywood emotional manipulation felt quite so revolting.

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