Reviewed by Dennis Morton
you ever watched a movie in a large theatre, all by yourself?
It happened to me recently when I caught the late showing of
Gigli, the Jennifer Lopez / Ben Affleck film. This movie has
been dumped on so thoroughly by so many critics that apparently
no one, or almost no one, is bothering to see if the critics
know what theyre talking about.
I wont try to tell you that Gigli is a great film. It
isnt. But its not the egregious failure its
made out to be. Hollywood is awash with films that dont
deserve an audience, but Gigli isnt one of them. Although
burdened by an improbable plot, there is much to enjoy and admire
in this oddball effort.
Affleck and Lopez, in spite of what you may have heard, do have
chemistry on the screen. Their relationship works not because
its sultry or steamy. It works because its comic.
And comedy requires not just good acting, but good writing.
Theres plenty of both in Gigli.
The plot requires Afflecks character, a Damon Runyonesque
fellow named Larry, to
kidnap a mentally challenged young man from an institution.
This is a device that serves the purpose of getting Larry, the
young man and Lopezs character Ricki to spend a considerable
amount of time together, most of it in Larrys small apartment.
In these close quarters the characters learn a lot about each
other, which leads to a tenderness we can see coming from a
mile away, but which is nevertheless endearing.
Im puzzled by the nearly hysterical reaction of most critics
to this film. The Lopez character, Ricki, is a lesbian. Could
this be making some folks uncomfortable? Theres a lot
of talk about male and female body parts. Could this be putting
some people off? I enjoyed watching Affleck and Lopez negotiate
their differing sexual proclivities. I didnt find it heavy
handed. I found it funny. And unless Im completely misreading
the directors intent, I was supposed to.
Gigli is enriched by three wonderful cameos.
Lainie Kazan plays Larrys mother. Her scene is one of
the funniest in the movie. And Larrys embarrassment is
so palpable that we cringe along with him as Kazan mouths off
in her inimitable way.
Christopher Walken plays a cop. Walken is always wired, but
his three minutes in Gigli is a masterpiece of the bizarre.
No actor can match his manic energy. Walkens scene will
not be forgotten by the several of us who braved the critics
warning and actually watched this movie.
And finally, Al Pacino makes an appearance late in the movie
as a very scary crime boss. He exudes unpredictability and menace.
And the look of frightened bewilderment
on Larrys face, and Rickis, when in Pacinos
presence is convincing and far more eloquent that words.
Yes, I confess, I liked this film. Check it out. This may be
your only opportunity to be part of an audience thats
outnumbered by the theatres staff.
For KUSPs Film Gang, this is Dennis Morton.