Gigli (2003)

Watching Gigli would be Ben-eficial


In one of the most controversial casting decisions in recent memory, it was announced that the role of Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel will be played by Benjamin Affleck. The news caused a huge uproar – more than 70,000 people have signed a petition asking for him to be removed from the film. I understand that Batman is a complex character who should only be portrayed by our most capable thespians, such as Adam West and Val Kilmer. However, I do feel that people are being a bit harsh towards Affleck.

Sure, I’ll admit, he isn’t exactly on a hot streak. I mean, what has he done lately? Well, there was the Iranian hostage drama Argo. It is appropriate that it took place in Iran, since I ran out of the theatre shortly into it. If you go back a decade however, you will be able to see what Affleck is capable of. Take a look at his body of work at that time – Jersey Girl, Daredevil, Pearl Harbor, Surviving Christmas – basically getting Affleck to star in one of your films was a licence to print money. As great as all those films are, they pale in comparison to perhaps his most famous work, the 2003 classic Gigli.

Affleck takes on the role of Larry Gigli, a thug who is tasked with kidnapping Brian (Justin Bartha), a mentally challenged youngster. Brian happens to be the brother of a prosecutor who is looking to put a mob boss behind bars. Bartha’s portrayal of Brian is one of the most sensitive depictions of the disabled that I have ever seen. And he is not a one-dimensional character at all. He raps, and he is obsessed with Baywatch. “They make my penis sneeze,” says Brian of the fine actresses on that program. God bless you, sir. At the risk of giving away too many spoilers, I will reveal that in the end, Brian gets to meet the cast of Baywatch. Or at least some sort of reasonable facsimile of the cast. Apparently David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson or any other Baywatch cast members were unwilling to make an appearance. Al Pacino (Righteous Kill, Jack and Jill) and Christopher Walken (Balls of Fury, Kangaroo Jack), however, were more than willing to make cameos.

Gigli’s superiors have no faith in him to carry out this task, and therefore assign Ricki (Jennifer Lopez) to tag along and make sure the job is done correctly.

In a case of art imitating life, sparks fly between Affleck and Lopez’s characters. Not initially, though, due to the fact that Ricki is a lesbian. But sometime during the course of this classic mobster/lesbian/ mentally handicapped buddy road comedy, Ricki succumbs to Gigli’s charms, which are mostly showcased by the constant dropping of F-bombs and delivering monologues about his penis. Come on, what lady wouldn’t switch to the other team for a man like this?! Lopez and Affleck were quite the item in real life at the time. I believe they were the first star couple to receive a mashup name, Bennifer. So couples like Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and MasterBates (Master P and Kathy Bates) owe a lot to Ben and Jen.

The film itself is a bit of a mashup. Part gangster drama, part romantic comedy, part infomercial for Jennifer Lopez’s derrière, Gigli succeeds at everything it tries to be. To all those jokers who are upset about this Batman situation, I strongly suggest that you take a deep breath and give Mr. Affleck the Ben-efit of the doubt. Sit back and take in a viewing of Gigli. After doing so, you will no doubt agree that Ben Affleck is the hero we deserve, and the one we need right now.


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