The only people likely to get a kick out of Gigli — the first screen teaming of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez — are Madonna and her director hubby Guy Ritchie. Finally there’s a movie as jaw-droppingly awful as their Swept Away. The stars display zip chemistry, but seem to find themselves adorable. They’re so taken with each other they don’t need an audience. Good thing, because they’re not going to get one, not with this swill.
Affleck, in way over his head, plays Larry Gigli, a dim bulb of a mob enforcer. Gigli (it’s pronounced jeel-ly but everyone gets it wrong) has kidnapped mental patient Brian (Justin Bartha, doing Rain Man), the kid brother of a federal prosecutor, to keep mob boss Starkman (Al Pacino in an overwrought cameo) from going to jail. Don’t ask how. Know only that mob cutie Ricki (Lopez), a lesbian with a suicidal girlfriend, has been sent in to make sure Gigli doesn’t screw up. Lopez treats the role like a photo shoot, doing yoga exercises in Gigli’s apartment and ruminating on why it’s more erotic to kiss a vagina than a penis.
Writer-director Martin Brest, who should have learned from his last fiasco, Meet Joe Black, instead provides more excruciating dialogue and slack pacing. Christopher Walken gets laughs as a nutso cop, but the focus soon switiches to what motivates Ricki to spread her legs and tell Gigli to, and I quote, “gobble-gobble.” Careers have been crushed by less. Test audiences reportedly balked at the film’s happy ending and wanted Gigli and Ricki to die bloody deaths. And they say critics are harsh.