THE ‘GIGLI’ IS UP
By RUSSELL SCOTT SMITH
‘I was shocked,” says “Good Morning America”’s Joel Siegel. “It’s very bad storytelling.”
“It’s horrible,” moans Roger Friedman of Foxnews.com. “The worst movie ever made.”
And those two made it to the end of Monday night’s screening of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s ultra-hyped “Gigli.” More than one person walked out.
The buzz on Ben and Jen’s first movie is so bad – think Madonna’s “Swept Away” – Revolution Studios even had trouble filling the L.A. premiere, giving seats usually reserved for stars to the fans waiting outside.
“It’s definitely not a fastball down the middle,” Revolution partner Tom Sherak admitted to The Post. “It’s a curve ball.”
So how to get people to see it?
“I think that our main point was always Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez,” says Sherak.
Thus the trailers, the poster and endless promotion, which all have presented the movie as a gooey romantic comedy.
Turns out “Gigli” also contains stomach-churning violence and lots of gratuitous vulgarity. (“I counted Ben saying the F-word 15 times in the first 10 minutes!” Friedman says. )
Just so you know what you’re getting yourself into, here’s Pulse’s guide to everything else you should know about “Gigli” that producers have been afraid to tell you.
1 – It’s pronounced “jee-lee.”
Not “giggly” or “jiggly,” despite what you might think of J.Lo’s backside. Revolution considered calling it “Tough Love,” but went back to “Gigli,” the last name of Affleck’s character.
“We knew people would make fun of it,” Sherak says, “but we decided that would be a good thing because it would get people talking.
“Of course, you can make yourself believe anything in this business.”
2 – Yep, she’s gay (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
You’d never know it from the trailer, in which J.Lo tells Ben, “You’re not my type.”
But her character is in fact a lesbian – at least at the beginning of the movie. Later, she changes her mind and beds down with Ben (who pulled off the same feat in 1997’s “Chasing Amy”).
3 – Al Pacino’s role is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo.
Despite appearing in TV ads for “Gigli,” Pacino is only on screen for about five minutes – a cameo he reportedly did as a favor to director Martin Brest, who directed his Oscar-winning role in 1992’s “Scent of a Woman.”
Even Christopher Walken – whom one critic dubs “the patron saint of bad movies” – shows up, delivering a rare bright spot, judging by the applause at Monday’s screening.
4 – Yes, they airbrushed the poster.
The New York Post’s Page Six report that the “Gigli” poster has been tinkered with to make J.Lo’s butt look smaller and her breasts bigger wasn’t entirely wrong.
“We didn’t shrink her butt,” says Sherak. “But in the original shot, her arm was alongside her body, blocking her curves. She didn’t want people to think we were covering her up, so we manipulated it so her arm was on his shoulder.”
5 – What chemistry?
Affleck and Lopez allegedly fell in love while making “Gigli” – but any on-screen proof is dampened by clunky dialogue.
Monday’s audience burst into laughter during the seduction scene, when J.Lo spreads her legs for Ben and says, “It’s turkey time. Gobble-gobble.”
Brest and the studio decided to emphasize the romance, after test audiences didn’t like the film’s ending, in which (spoiler alert: don’t read the rest of this paragraph) Ben’s character died in a hail of bullets.
6 – It’s finally here!
“Gigli” was supposed to open earlier this summer, but Revolution bumped it so the couple would have more time to publicize it – which they’ve certainly been making the most of.
The release was then moved again, from Wednesday to Friday, out of fear of bad reviews.
“We knew some people would like the movie and some wouldn’t,” Sherak admits.
Asked whether he likes “Gigli,” Sherak launches into a long answer about what “nice people” the stars are. “I like watching them banter on screen,” he says, “because I’m looking at two people I know and like so much.”
But what about the movie?
“Well,” he says, “I can’t think of a single movie that I liked all the way through, can you?”
With reporting by Paula Froelich
THE ‘GIGLI’ IS UP