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Gigli (2003) – DVD Review

Gigli DVD cover art


Written & Directed by Martin Brest
Starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Lenny Vinito, Justin Bartha, and Christopher Walken

Released by: Columbia TriStar
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Avoid it.

Larry Gigli (Affleck) is a muscle man for a young, up-and-coming thug in L.A named Louis (Vinito). He’s been tasked with kidnapping and holding Brian (Bartha), the mentally challenged brother of a federal prosecutor. The hope is that the kidnapping will put some pressure on the prosecutor to cut a deal on the prosecution of a friend of Louis’ back in New York. It seems, however, that Louis doesn’t think that Gigli is quite up to the challenge, so he hires Ricki (Lopez) to help Gigli make sure the job is done right. Ricki is pretty hot, but there’s a bit of a snag; she’s a lesbian. Will they be able to learn to work together?

And more importantly, who cares? As pretty much everybody knows, when released, this movie should have had a lot of momentum built into it because of the super-hyped relationship between Affleck and Lopez. But it seems that not even that could help this movie along. Not only did it break the record for winning the most Razzie awards (including Worst Picture, and Worst Actor for Affleck), it was a non-entity at the box office. The IMDB reports that some cinemas in the UK closed it after just one week due to the lack of response from audience goers. There are, however, reasons for this lack of response.

The movie is just horrible. The characters have absolutely no depth whatsoever and the plot does not move at all until it tries to limp towards some semblance of a climax at the end of the movie. In fact, Brest wrote a story where he tried to capitalize on the sexual tension created between a heterosexual man and a homosexual woman. What the hell is this about? The main problem with this relationship: Lopez did not create a believable enough character for the audience to care whether or not she was a lesbian. Or even human. In fact, if she had turned out to be a robot from the future, that might have been at least a little interesting. We knew that they were going to wind up in the sack together before the credits rolled and we just got sick of waiting for it. By the time it did happen, we were just so bored with the rest of the story, we slept through it. I mean, really, when was the last time you can remember saying that a movie’s sex scene was boring? (Editor’s note: You’ve never seen Showgirls, have you?)

Affleck was also equally deserving of his Razzie. He did absolutely nothing to make us believe that his character was capable of being a muscle man at all. In fact, all he did was mope around the set the whole movie. I just got tired of him whining about not being able to bed Lopez and having second thoughts about every single order he was given by his boss. Some of the dialogue makes the attempt to be Tarantino-esque, but falls miserably short of the mark. Am I beginning to paint the picture here?

Ben Affleck from Gigli

There is no limit to the amount of thanks I have that there are no special features on this disc. The fact that the movie is actually on the DVD twice in two different formats is simply too much to handle. The absence of a commentary track on this disc is the stuff of angels. I could not have stood listening to Brest (or anyone else, for that matter) defend this movie while it played along in a kind of evil pantomime behind them. If Criterion wants to capitalize on this disc, they should get some of the Razzie Award guys together and put a commentary track together about why the movie won so many awards that year. Any other interviews with the cast and/or crew would have done nothing but make you want to take your own life in the slowest and most painful way possible.

There really couldn’t be any production notes on the film because if there had been any in the first place, the movie might have actually been worth watching. Seriously, if anyone else had been in these roles in this movie, they would not have had a career after this travesty. In fact, they might have actually begun to receive payment to not appear in anymore movies ever. After all, if the government can pay farmers not to grow things, they should be able to pay actors to not be in movies, right?

To paraphrase Eric Idle, this is not a movie for watching. This is a movie for laying down and avoiding. Don’t let your morbid curiosity get the best of you. You’ll regret it for the rest of your days.

Jennifer Lopez from Gigli

Where to Find It