Hey folks, Harry here... Wanna hear a miserable experience? One of those disaster things that you can't help, but laugh because while you can't believe it is true, you just know that it is? Well this is one of those. Miramax, I would listen to what Mean Mr Mustard suggests about releasing JERSEY GIRL prior to the release of this film... You don't want to have people confusing the horror of this experience with what Kevin has in store for us.
Mean Mr. Mustard here, and boy, am I pissed off right now. Why? We'll I thought that the pain and suffering that was Matchstick Men a few months back was about as low as this year could get in Hollywood filmmaking. Oh boy was I wrong. At least that film, with all its major flaws is releasable. But tonight I was one of the lucky few to see a test screening of a film that is so bad, so god awful, and so painful to sit through that I seriously think it's flat out unreleasable. The film…Tough Love. Haven't heard of it? Well that may be because it use to be called Gigli. Yes, the film with J. Lo, Ben, and a retard (forgive me if I'm not being Mr. Sensitive wile I vent out my frustrations). It doesn't matter what this film is called, or how many more title changes it will likely go through before it's finally released, it still an unreleasable PIECE OF SHIT! And to prove my point, I did some research on the films release date, and for some reason, it keeps on getting pushed back. It was originally scheduled for November, 2002, then December, 2002, then it moved to May 9th, 2003, then to July 11th, 2003, now it's scheduled for August 1st, 2003.
Before I actually review the dung, I want to state that I have no grudge against Ben or Jen Lo, nor do I have any scores to settle. I really had no reason going in to the screening not to like the film. I realize how much hard work and time it takes to make a film, and I always keep an open mind going into screenings. I'm just a film buff who just loves movies. But Tough Love unfortunately is what it is, and I'm not going to sugar coat that fact. Beware of lots of spoilers that I am about to reveal, but you will want to thank me later because it will save you the pain and suffering, not to mention your hard earned $10.
Here is the set-up…A NY based gangster is being investigated by the DA of NYC. So he has his people get in touch with a Los Angeles based "contractor" , Larry Gigli (Affleck). Gigli is hired to kidnap the NYC DA's kid brother, Brian (Justin Bartha) who is retarded and resides in a special institution in LA. Gigli does such and brings the kid to his hip LA pad. But the big bosses are afraid that Gigli might fuck up, so they decide to bring in yet another "contractor", Ricki (J.Lo) who shows up at Gigli's pad with lots of attitude and a yoga mat for her workouts. Oh yes, Ricki is also a stone cold DYKE! But Gigli changes that, naturally. And the retard opens up and enjoys life outside of the institution. And that is pretty much the sorry ass synopsis.
Oh yes there are two noteworthy cameos.
Cameo # 1
Christopher Walken has about 5 minutes of screen time as a detective who is grilling Gigli. No surprise that it's only 5 minutes in the film that is alive. Walken comes in, does his thing, has the one and only good line in the film (he looks at Ricki then to Gigli and says to Gigli "so who's the fish taco"?) and leaves.
Cameo # 2
Towards the end, we get to meet Mr. NY based gangster who has flown to LA to meet with his "contractors". And it is Al "HAM" Pacino with a pony tail (if my memory is correct, the last time Pacino had a pony tail on screen was that revolutionary war film that almost ended his career) basically being Al "HAM" Pacino.
When Mr. HAM was introduced, a woman who was sitting a few rows in front of me blurted out a loud "what the fuck" to the screen. I had the exact same feeling.
It's no surprise that Al is over the top, loud, and obnoxious. At one point he's even screaming and repeating at the top of his lungs "I'm Floating here". Al, you've been floating with this shtick for too long now, take a chill! The main problem with cameo # 2 is that all of the sudden, Ben and J. Lo's film turns into Al's showstopper.
But there are many, many more problems with this film, and lots of it is the screenplay that is actually credited to the film's director Martin Brest (Meet Jo Black, Scent Of A Women, Midnight Run, Beverly Hills Cop). The retard has a thing for The Peoples Court, OPPS wrong movie, I mean Baywatch. And he has a habit of repeating "who's on first…" OPPS wrong movie, I mean rap lyrics at inappropriate moments. You get where this is going.
At the mid point, we are introduced to Ricki's female ex-lover, and before we even get to know this character, she attempts suicide in a grisly scene that's totally out of place in the film. If you are going to have a suicide scene in a film, it should at least in some way help to develop the characters. In The Royal Tennebaums for example, Richie's suicide attempt brought the family together, and made Margot realize her love for Ritchie. The grisly suicide scene in Tough Love is nothing more than a plot devise to get Gigli, Ricki, and the retard to the hospital to have a comedic scene set in the hospital's morgue. Ricki's ex-lover is never seen or mentioned again. HELLO, a fucking broken toe could have just as easily gotten these characters to the hospital!
And the dialog! Tough Love has some of the most truly god-awful dialog ever heard on screen. Ricki has a 5 minute monolog about "my pussy" which is even more degrading and embarrassing than Liz Berkley's "I am not whore…" speech in Showgirls. I'm actually surprised that J. Lo didn't take a stand and say to Brest… "you don't really expect me to say those lines, do you?" unless that scene was improved by J. Lo, in which case, the editor should have taken a stand…"you don't really expect to leave in that scene, do you?"
And the animal cracker scene from Armageddon has been toped. It doesn't get any worse than this folks….
It's time to baste the turkey
You heard me.
This is so fuck'ed up
(they make love)
I can go on and on about the script, but I think you get the idea.
And the acting. Folks, if we fast forward to the end of 2003, then there is no doubt in my mind that Ben and J. Lo will walk away with Razzies for their performances (and this POS has to be a front runner for worst picture). Ben plays Gigli with a tough guy NY Chazz Palminteri dialect that goes in and out and in and out. To call his performance inconsistent would be an understatement. J. Lo on the other hand is the exact opposite. Every word, phrase, and line out of her mouth, whether it's coming on to Gigli, comforting the retard, standing up to Pacino, or that really embarrassing "pussy" monolog is said in the exact same low pitched smokey monotone. Clint Eastwood could get away with this style because his face and eyes say everything his voice doesn't but J. Lo, WHAT IN THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING? And Justin Bartha. He looked to Hollywood (he's a dead ringer for Joaquin Phoenix) and I never believed, not for one minute that he was retarded. Can you same thing about Arnie from "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". NO, and what made that film work was that you never, ever once believed that an actor was "playing" retarded in that role. That is why DiCaprio got nominated for an oscar and that film and his performance in it is why he became the star he is today.
Oh, and I need to rant about the score…the fuckers stole Hans Zimmer's brilliant score from True Romance and placed it all over this film. Now, yes it's a test screening, and I know that they use temp sound tracks from time to time, but I don't think it's the case here because too many scenes seemed to have been edited in-time to the famous melody (dum dum de-de-de dum de-de-de dum de-de dum) almost too perfectly, as if this is the finished score to the film. I loved that melody and score so much, but every time I herd it in Tough Love, every time that xylophone kicked in-I wanted to scream. YOU ARE RAPEING ONE OF THE GREAT UNDERAPPRECIATED SCORES IN FILM HISTORY. FUCKERS!
Can I say anything at all, one good thing about this film? Um , I did, Walken's five minutes, and that's it.
This film is unreleasable at it's current state, no question about it, but it will be released someday and I'm afraid that Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures marketing campaign will be to market Ben and J. Lo non-stop all summer long (bus adds, billboards, posters on every street corner and trailers in front of every summer blockbuster) and that this POS will have a $50 million opening (out of curiosity) and go over $100 million. If that is the case, it will be a +$100 million dollar hit in the same way that Wild Wild West was a +$100 million dollar hit. Don't be fooled! Seabiscuit will be in it's 2nd week of release if they stick to the Aug. 1st release date for Tough Love and I can't think of better justice than to see a film staring a horse beat out J. Lo and Ben that weekend.
And on that note, a closing and cautionary note to Miramax and Kevin Smith. Do whatever you can to get Jersey Girl out in theaters before Tough Love. I enjoy Kevin Smiths films, and I think he may just be one of the best writers working in film today, but any genius that is in Jersey Girl, if it has Affleck's best performance, if it tunes out to be Smith's Annie Hall, will be greatly diminished if it follows Tough Love. Everyone will be suckered into seeing Tough Love, it will gross $100 million, everyone will agree it was one of the greatest catastrophes of the year, if not the history of film, Jersey Girl will follow and good or bad, it will gross $25 million because no one will ever want to see Ben and J. Lo together again. GET JERSEY GIRL OUT FIRST!!! NOW!!! Not after this turkey Tough Love.
Mean Mr. Mustard out.
PS, let me know if I set the record for the longest review.