Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Gigli arrives burdened with baggage. Its US opening caused a box office famine and, somehow, the Ben/J-Lo on-off marriage, with its corresponding media frenzy, has affected the progress of the film.

This is not the worst movie ever made - not by a long chalk. Writer/director Martin Brest (Midnight Run, Scent Of A Woman) has form. Al Pacino and Christopher Walken give entertaining cameo performances and newcomer Jason Bartha, as a mentally handicapped youth, steals the show.

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There are problems, it's true. Ben Affleck's character is unsympathetic, to say the least, and Jennifer Lopez plays a lesbian, which is like casting Colin Farrell as a closet Old Etonian bird watcher.

Basically, the fault lies with the script. The plot doesn't move and the story is unbelievable. Romantic comedies have carte blanche to break every rule of credibility, as long as the girl looks good and the guy has charm. When the girl looks too good and the guy has no charm, the audience has time to question what it's doing.

Larry Gigli ("rhymes with reely") is a second rate hoodlum's foot soldier from LA, whose opinion of his animal attraction knows no bounds. He's sexist, chauvinistic and intellectually out to lunch. Ricky, on the other hand, is smart, aware of others' feelings and drop dead gorgeous. Why are they together?

It's business. He has been hired to kidnap the retard brother of a state prosecutor. She has been hired to keep an eye on him. The point of it is to put pressure on the attorney to throw out a case against a New York gangster (Pacino).

Of course, you don't believe a word of it. Lopez is a better actor than Affleck, if this is anything to go by, but she can't make Ricky real. What is a doll like her doing in a job like this? Affleck has an easier ride. All he has to do is play the jerk.

The only one who brings a semblance of credibility to the proceedings is Bartha. There are moments when the spectre of Forrest Gump rises before your eyes - blink once and it's gone. You care more about what happens to him than you do about the others.

Will Ricky retract her speech from The Vagina Monologues and learn to love Larry's special feature?

Frankly, my dear...

Reviewed on: 24 Sep 2003
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A lesbian and a two-bit hood team up to kidnap the retarded son of a State prosecutor.
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Director: Martin Brest

Writer: Martin Brest

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Lenny Venito, Lainie Kazan

Year: 2003

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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