A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has graphic violence, non-stop profanity, and extremely explicit sexual references and situations. A character attempts suicide and then disappears from the story. In a better movie, the fact that the most capable and intelligent character is a bi-sexual Hispanic woman would be more worthwhile. Bartha's portrayal of Brian is probably the most natural and authentic of the movie, but the character of the retarded man is the stereotypical noble disabled person and really no more than a prop for the other characters to react to.
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What's the story?
Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) is a small-time enforcer for a small-time hood named Louis. Larry's latest assignment is to kidnap a retarded young man named Brian (Justin Bartha) to help Louis and his colleagues can apply some pressure to Brian's brother. So Larry picks up Brian and brings him back to his apartment. A beautiful woman (Jennifer Lopez) who says her name is Ricki tells Larry that she has also been hired by Louis to make sure he does not mess up the job. Larry's macho ego is affronted, but he is attracted to Ricki, even after she tells him she is gay. A lot of bickering and bantering later, much of it involving mind-numbing debates over who is the boss and straight vs. gay sex, plus encounters with the mother of one and the ex-lover of the other, Larry and Ricki have to decide whether they are willing to hurt or kill Brian and that leads them to think differently about themselves and each other.
Is it any good?
GIGLI is less a movie than a string of over-the-top audition monologues, those random set-pieces designed to show off an actor's facility with language and attitude. Those can be entertaining in their own way, but they do not have anything to do with creating a character or telling a story, just two of the many movie-making essentials that are missing. The movie has the traditional odd couple structure -- friction, the chance to prove themselves to one another, mutual epiphanies, and finally, respect and affection. But it never finds any tone or direction or believable connection between the characters.
Larry and Ricki are one-dimensional characters, their bickering has no spark, and the evolution of their relationship isn't believable because they're just attributes and attitude, with no internal consistency. Meanwhile, Christopher Walken (as a cop) and Al Pacino (as a crime boss) drop by for showy scenes that have some verve but add nothing to the plot, tone, or themes of the movie. Indeed, there really is nothing that could be called plot, tone, or theme in this movie. It's not the worst movie ever. It's not even the worst movie of the year. And it's not as bad as the Jen/Ben backlash want it to be. But it is not a good movie, and it is a terrible waste of talent.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: July 24, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: December 8, 2003
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha
- Director: Martin Brest
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, pervasive language and brief strong violence
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