PEOPLE MAGAZINECritics Toss Bricks at
Ben & Jen's Movie
STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN
Get out the Razzies!. The reviews are out, and nobody seems to
have a kind word for "Gigli." Just in case you haven't
heard, "Gigli," which isn't pronounced the way it looks
(but, rather, "Jee-lee"), is a romantic gangster comedy
starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez,
who met on the set and began their storied romance.
But, apparently, what happened offscreen is better than what the
stars and their director, Martin Brest ("Beverly
Hills Cop," "Meet Joe Black"), left behind.
"'Gigli' is a disaster," declares New York's Daily
News, which awards the movie one star (out of four) and
tosses the "crude black comedy" on the same funeral
pyre as such all-time turkeys as "Ishtar," "Howard
the Duck" and "Battlefield Earth."
Reuters, reporting that the flick is being called a low
point in movie history -- in the annals of Madonna's
"Swept Away" and Mariah Carey's
"Glitter" -- singles out one of the movie's more
embarrassing moments, a love scene in which Lopez reportedly
spreads her legs and informs Affleck, "It's turkey time.
"The 'Gigli' is Up," reported Wednesday's New York
Post, which added: "Ben-Jen bomb was made for
The Los Angeles Times, though adhering to the informal
industry rule that movies shouldn't be reviewed until the day
they open, has tracked the movie's path to disaster, including
reputed clashes at a preview screening between director Brest and
the head of the studio, Revolution chief Joe Roth,
over the finale of the film and its overall pace.
Even though the
beach-blanket movie "From Justin to Kelly," based on
FOX's "American Idol," grossed only $5 million at the
box office when it quickly came and went a few weeks ago, the
"Stinker of the Summer" label has been permanently
affixed to "Gigli."
The movie opened to derisive reviews and disappointing business
this weekend, bringing in only $3.8 million and landing at No. 7
on the Friday-Sunday Top 10 list, according to studio estimates.
Actually, "derisive" and "disappointing" are
kind adjectives, considering the reaction to the picture, in
which Affleck plays a small-time mobster and Lopez plays a
midriff-baring lesbian crook.
So low was the turnout for the picture that The New York Times
headlined its story: "J.Lo and Affleck Finally Get Some
Privacy." The Times reports that the film is not likely to
recoup its $54 million cost, and the next Ben-Jen vehicle,
"Jersey Girl," has seen its release date pushed back
from later this year to the beginning of next year. Analysts
credit the move as a means to distance "Jersey Girl"
Assessing the disaster, Tom Sherak, a principal
at the film's producer, Revolution Studios, tells Reuters:
"We couldn't separate the movie from their real lives. You
don't look at them as actors in this movie. You look at them as
Jen and Ben." And critics just didn't like looking at them,
at least not in this vehicle, written and directed by Martin
Brest ("Meet Joe Black").
A "hopelessly misconceived exercise in celebrity
self-worship," wailed The Times, while The
Washington Post called it "enervated, torpid, slack,
dreary and, oh yes, nasty, brutish and long." Still, the
trade paper Variety was kind, saying "Gigli" was
"a silly but enjoyably written and performed romantic
comedy." Well, SOMEONE had to like it!
2003, PEOPLE Magazine