This week on the Ten Movies podcast, we continue our descent into the work of Jennifer Lopez. We use the metaphor of descent purposefully, as this week’s selection is ‘Gigli’, released in 2003 and widely considered one of the worst movies ever made. Is it as terrible as people say? Or was director Martin Brest bravely challenging the stale, bourgeois notion that films must have coherent stories and characters to whom the viewer might somehow relate or feel sympathy?
Our chief learning from this season of Ten Movies has been that Jennifer Lopez is a stronger actor than you might think, given her lack of widespread critical cinematic acclaim, but that she stars in some not-so-great movies. Here at the nadir of our season, our working hypothesis is both validated and sorely tested, as ‘Gigli’ is a genuinely terrible movie, and she is terrible in it.
For the most part, it’s not her fault, nor is it her co-star Ben Affleck’s, though neither of them acquit themselves admirably. (The third lead, Justin Bartha, turns in a cringingly offensive performance as the developmentally-disabled kidnapping victim who brings Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck together, expressing his disability primarily by saying inappropriate things and flapping his hands.) No, the real blame here attaches to the writers, who neglected to provide a story or coherent motivations for the characters, and the director, who failed to notice the oversight.
Mostly the two lead actors spend the entire movie in Ben Affleck’s apartment, saying painfully stupid things to one another that are supposed to be clever and sexy, maybe? (“In every relationship, there’s a bull and a cow. It just so happens that in this relationship, right here with me and you, I’m the bull, you’re the cow.”) Also, Jennifer Lopez’s character is allegedly a lesbian, but she changes her mind after spending a few days with a thoroughly unlikeable, not-very-bright jamoke in a leather jacket.
Anyway, we cannot possibly recommend you watch ‘Gigli’, but we can heartily recommend this delightful 30-minute podcast episode where we say mean things about it. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, in that sense.