September 28, 2005

Rhymes with Really (as in Really Bad)

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As some may already know, curiosity can be a dangerous thing. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the unwritten truth behind curiosity is a lesson to be learned the hard way. In my own case, it all started this weekend when, while vegging with my roommates, I opened my mouth, and it ended when I said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we watched Gigli just to see how bad it really is?”

Being human beings with adequate brain capacity for logic, all of them politely declined my offer. I believe their exact words were something along the lines of, “What? Hell no!” At the time, I internally berated their intolerance; secure in the belief that rumors of Gigli being “the worst movie of all time,” was largely due to America’s super-prevalent mob mentality. It was all just recycled hype, thought I, brought to nationwide fruition thanks to the efforts of bitter pundits who had it out for Bennifer.

And let me just say that I was completely wrong on all counts.

Watching Gigli was the most painful 121 minutes of my life, even beating out the three hours of excruciating dental surgery I endured at age 10 as a result of a freak bedpost incident. Once a naïve, hopeful believer in the idea that “there are no bad movies,” I cringed inwardly as each passing frame was like a knife of betrayal into my beating heart.

I concede on some level that the media hooplah surrounding Gigli’s release probably had something to do with the way it was received, acting like a meat tenderizer of sorts that primed the movie for mass hatred. The poster controversy about whether or not J-Lo’s backside had been digitally reduced due to the overprotective anxieties of fiance, B. Affleck or the self-involved romp narcissism that was the “Jenny From the Block” music video were only two layers of a multi-tiered cake that probably did much to steam America’s buns.

Convoluted food euphemisms aside, Gigli was pretty suck-tastic and no matter how much I attempted to approach the task of watching it with an open mind, it was as if I was subconsciously and involuntary forced to reject it on a visceral level. Basically, to accept Gigli is to consent to the delusion that Ben Affleck as a gorilla-like thug whose example of spontaneous wit maxes out with obnoxious terminology like “dyke-a-saurus rexi” is appealing enough to attract not just any girl, but one who doesn’t even like men to begin with. That’s right, JLo plays a les-bo. Get over it. Frankly, I don’t even believe that actual-Affleck, let alone some ill-conceived product of actor-Affleck, could do such a thing. In line with the dubious plot about the power of heterosexuality, there are other factors to consider, like the mind-numbing reiteration of “Hey, J-Lo’s a lesbian, did we mention that she’s a lesbian because you know she is one – a lesbian, that is!” complete with a psychotic, suicide-prone ex-girlfriend. There are also the plot devices, like the kidnapping assignment which brings Affleck and Lopez’s characters together (their names are Larry and Ricki, by the way, but somehow this seems irrelevant).

As actors best known for playing the same character in every movie (namely, themselves), Affleck and Lopez finally prove with Gigli why we should be glad for this seemingly annoying trend. Lopez struggles to shed her saucy-but-nice screen persona and ultimately fails. Meanwhile, Affleck’s attempt at not being the alpha male frat boy merely results in the creation of an alpha male frat boy on steroids with a side of obnoxiousness.

Still, I think we all still owe Gigli a round of applause for ridding us of the train wreck that was Bennifer and curing both its stars of the disease known as “branching out.” Now that Jen’s found true love with Skeletor and Ben’s married Sydney Bristow, things are much quieter on the block and I bet even an oaf like Larry Gigli would agree, really for the best.

Archived article by Tracy Zhang