The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time: Gigli
There are, it would seem, two subsets of Worst Movies that are then split into two further subsets, creating four categories. First, there is the separation between a movie that is widely known as bad, your Boondock Saints and your Battlefield Earths, and movies that have tricked many people into thinking they’re good, your Spanglishs, or your I Am Sams. Within these subsections you have the much simpler division between those movies that are enjoyable to watch despite being the worst and those movies that are unwatchable. If you were to map these all out on a grid, with “Recognized” on the left hand side of the X axis, and “Unrecognized” on the right hand side, and then “Watchable” at the top of the Y axis and “Unwatchable at the bottom, we are now firmly in the bottom left hand corner. You know, geometry. That was a complicated way of plotting out Gigli’s place in the world, but being as it’s one of the most mathematically terrible movies in existence, not inappropriate.
Gigli is the last name of our “hero,” a mob thug played by Ben Affleck. He has been put in charge of kidnapping a mentally challenged young man, Brian, from a hospital and holing him up in his shabby apartment to await further instructions. Then Jennifer Lopez shows up and he gets a boner and she tells him that it was a trick to see if he would mess up and now the two of them have to watch Brian together. It turns out that Brian’s brother is a federal prosecutor pursuing a case against a mafia don played by Al Pacino (wow, what?) and the kidnapping was intended to put pressure on the government to drop the case, because that sounds like a plan that would work. Eventually, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez fall in love, kind of, even though Jennifer Lopez is a lesbian, and decide that they hate being the bad guys, and they run away, leaving Brian alone on the beach.
Like K-Pax, this movie already starts at a serious deficit as part of the Worst Genre of All Time, the Crazy/Mentally-Disabled Person Teaches the Jaded Cynic to Enjoy Life Again school of reductive redemption stories. In fact, it brings together lots of Worst Movie tropes that we’ve encountered before, including the casting of Justin Bartha in the role of Brian. I maintain and will continue to maintain that the line between powerful dramatic portrayal of the mentally disabled and schoolyard mockery is razor thin, where the razor is made out of sadness. Not that Justin Bartha was even the biggest liability, acting wise. That would be Mr. Affleck. Woof.
With Jennifer Lopez right behind him. And sometimes in front of him.
Always with the pearls in this movie! And what is it with Ben Affleck and unrealistic depictions of gorgeous sexually unsure lesbians?
Gigli, of course, was made famous as the project on which Bennifer was created. They fell in love during its shooting and became the most famous couple in the world for awhile. Which is one of the funniest things to think of now. I already feel like my own grandkid asking me “Really? Ben who? And Jennifer who? And you’re telling me they were famous? Extremely famous? No, I don’t want a butterscotch from your sweater pocket.” Maybe they should have spent less time falling in love on set and more time calling their agents to get them pulled off this Titanic of a movie.
It’s difficult to even write about why and how this movie fails because it does so in every single facet. Even the soundtrack, which even the worst movies usually have a soundtrack, but Gigli is just terrible easy listening hold music, like they went into the studio and put the Time Warner customer service line on speakerphone. Then there are all of the gaping plotholes, like why can Ben Affleck just walk into a home for the mentally disabled and kidnap Brian without anyone saying anything? And how come after they’ve kidnapped a HUMAN BEING, they still take him on all their ERRANDS?
It was written and directed by Martin Brest, who also directed Beverly Hills Cop (that’s a great movie!) and Scent of a Woman (that’s kind of a ridiculous movie!). He also gave the world this.
But, at least as far as IMDB is concerned, Gigli basically ended his career. That’s sad. We should all, as a country, take a Mulligan on this one. Can’t Martin Brest just pick up some garbage next to a highway on ramp for a couple weeks and get back to work? I think we’ve all paid his debt to society at this point.