review for Gigli on AllMovie

Gigli (2003)
by Perry Seibert review

The saddest aspect of Gigli is that it has a really good core idea for a movie. American films rarely examine how gender stereotypes can be flip-flopped in a sexual relationship between a man and a woman. When the film focuses on how Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's characters relate to one another once they trust each other enough to reveal their true natures, Gigli has some life and some intelligence. Sadly, what momentum the film can build is stopped cold by the crime story that never finds a comfortable tone. The tonal problems in Gigli are exemplified in one scene. Brian, (Justin Bartha), a kidnapped mentally retarded young man, raps "Baby Got Back" in a morgue while Gigli hacks off a cadaver's thumb with a plastic knife. The scene makes no sense (why would they risk taking Brian to the morgue when they are supposed to be hiding him?), while the humor in the scene is nonexistent, unless one finds a rapping mentally handicapped guy funny. Such thoughtlessness weighs down the better passages in the script, making for a disjointed, very weird moviegoing experience. Martin Brest has seemingly given the actors no restrictions, and Jennifer Lopez, who chooses to underplay when everybody else goes over the top, becomes the most engaging performer in the film; she scores points simply by deflating Gigli's machismo with throwaway asides. Her work, however, cannot come close to saving one of the strangest misfires of 2003.