Gigli. The mere mention of that film is enough to send shivers down most spines. This is usually followed by snorting laughter. Regarded as one of the worst Hollywood films of all time, this reputation relies on a number of key points. All of them valid. The fact that people often pronounce it incorrectly makes it even funnier, remember as Ben Affleck tells us at the beginning It’s Gee-Lee, it rhymes with really.
Some historical perspective is in order. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were dating and the press coined the term Bennifer to refer to them. This combination of names in couples has become common parlance now, but they were the first. This seemingly unstoppable combination of Hollywood A-Listers were as derided as anyone at the time and their apparent misplaced confidence was enough fodder for gossip magazines and sites to bring forth a world of scorn. The sad fact is that people wanted to see them fail and they duly obliged with Gigli.
This fall from grace, wrapped in a nonsensical plot featuring one of the most obnoxious lead characters of all time who convinces a lesbian to sleep with him, shares more than a lot in common with Kevin Smith’s anti-rom-com Chasing Amy. But while that film was a charming, satirical and broke down social conventions of romance and love, Gigli refused to commit whole-heartedly to its insane premise and became a virtual cinematic car crash.
The fact that the film seems happy to spend a vast portion in one room with only the two leads, who share no onscreen chemistry whatsoever leads the viewer to question the sanity of the director. It feels like a harsh, cynical money-maker venture and it is easy to see why there is so much bile aimed toward it. Commercially is was a disaster and nearly killed the careers of both Lopez and Affleck. Fortunately like George Clooney in Batman and Robin, Affleck had enough talent and strength of character to ride out the wave of criticism and is now a much-lauded director.
But the fact remains that Gigli is a turkey on his otherwise solid filmography and when we say turkey, it is one of the worst examples of the excess’ of Hollywood ever committed to celluloid and proves that just sticking a couple of ˜star names’ on a poster does not result in quality or success.