ninth symphony films - movie reviews

GIGLI (2003)

DIRECTOR  -  martin brest

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  comedy?

LENGTH  -  96 minutes

RELEASED  -  1 august 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  columbia pictures


ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $54,000,000
gigli - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from gigli at

buy the dvd from gigli at

a sexist hitman is thrown unwillingly into a job with another hitman, who happens to be a woman, and a war of wills results.

after working together on gigli, lopez and affleck worked again as a couple on "jersey girl," a kevin smith film.


picture from gigli

picture from gigli

picture from gigli


zero out of four possible stars

There comes a time when morbid curiosity overwhelms our more intelligent faculties and we partake in some sort of medieval torture that has the capability to give nightmares to even the most hardened criminal. Gigli is that torture. It is something that is impossible to understand because of all its insurmountable and horrific mistakes and begs to be dissected by scholars.

Because Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are the "couple of the moment" in Hollywood, this film will receive a certain amount of attention simply on the basis of their fame. More attention will come from potential viewers who have seen the less than tepid reviews this film has garnered from nearly the entire population of film critics in the United States. And while the critical opinion of a film should not be the final word on whether one should attend a film (the opinions of friends should also factor in), it's rare that a film will be reviled by every single critic. But in a film full of mistakes, it's just too hard to find anything worth recommending about Gigli.

The first mistake made by the producers of this film was their choice of title. When even the "Moviefone" guy pronounces the title wrong (when I checked for times, Mr. Moviefone pronounced the title wrong...), you know you've slipped up somewhere. The second mistake was in their choice of score. Popping into the film at the strangest moments, the score, which, if separated from the film might be worth a listen, was inserted at so many inopportune moments that one wonders if the score was actually composed with this film in mind. It sounds like a temporary track or a few stolen cues of music used over and over by the director.

Never mind that the same theme repeats endlessly in a Kenny G-esque refrain that will make all viewers beg for ear plugs, but the person responsible for editing the score into the film also took the liberty of "telling" the audience how to feel at any given moment. If we're supposed to be heart-warmed, the music is sticky sweet. If we're supposed to shed a tear, the music swells to a rather high octave of heavy strings. It's more than irritating to be told, point blank, how one should feel about a particular scene.

Although the score might have been more suitable for another film, there would be no piece of celluloid suitable for the monstrosity that the hairdresser on the set created for Ben Affleck's head. Affleck's bouffant hair-do would probably garner its own zip code if it were to exist in the real world. One of the biggest laughs of the film comes from a scene where Affleck runs his hand through his hair in frustration after which it pops right back into its original shape. This amusing incident happens more than once over the duration of the film.

As far as the acting abilities of the cast, nearly every actor has demonstrated his or her prowess in front of the camera in past films. It doesn't even need to be said that minor supporting actors Christopher Walken and Al Pacino make interesting visits into the film (they each have exactly one scene), and the performance of Justin Bartha as the retarded boy seems to have been completed with a suitable amount of talent. But perhaps it's foolish to berate the actors in the film, as all the blame should not rest on their shoulders. As well as giving the screenwriter a firm boot in the hind end, the editor of this film should be granted the same privilege.

Every single character has an overly long scene in the film where they spout some strange insanity about the proverbial ups and downs of relationships and the speeches just turn into dissertations that should have been left on the cutting room floor. At one point, Jennifer Lopez has a scene where she talks with Affleck about the superiority of the female side of the race (after Affleck's speech on the same subject) and the scene feels as though it's at least 10 minutes long.

There's nothing to be done in the face of a scene like that other than shake one's head in disbelief that it goes on for so long. And though the script should have been burned long before this film went into production, Lopez should be given some credit for performing the role as well as could be expected in the face of such hideous dialogue. Affleck, on the other hand, took his character completely out of control and was probably mis-cast as Gigli.

It's possible that the film started out well on paper but just suffered in the translation to the screen. And though the basic idea might have been a worthy subject in the hands of a capable screenwriter, the abusive and misogynistic dialogue has the capability to make viewers of both sexes cringe in disgust. "Larry Gigli" is a despicable character and it is a complete mystery to this reviewer why Jennifer Lopez's character of "Ricki" would so easily quit her lifestyle and fall in love with him. Though their relationship may be sizzling off screen, the pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck on screen does nothing for the heart of the viewer. This film is not a romance. It is a tragedy.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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