"DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGALOW": A MOVIE REVIEW (1999)
by Dane Youssef
"Just not funny. Just doesn't work. Just a waste of time. Just a waste of money. Just a waste. HUMAN WASTE."
I know that "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" is completely immune to critical reviews. This movie... no matter what critic, no matter how scathing, how cruel and cold... when it comes to movies like this... the press is powerless.
Really, who cares what the critics say? This is not the newest political biography by Oliver Stone.
Movies like this are just meant to make you laugh.
And this one does. But Definitely not enough.
I was really looking forward to this one. I was in the mood for a "Dumb & Dumber" or "Kingpin" type of comedy and I saw some of the ads for this one and it looked fairly funny. So when it first came out on video, I rushed out to get it.
I've enjoyed most of Sandler's stuff, the Farrelly Brothers movies and just about every movie from the comic film firm of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker. So, surely, I'd like this one.
"Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" is a vomit bag of a movie. Granted, that's more or less what I was looking for... but it was the WRONG kind of vomit.
THE PLOT IN A NUTSHELL: Goofy, homely and pathetic fish-tank cleaner Deuce (who's also a fish specialist) winds up playing house-sitter and "fish doctor" for a luxurious gigolo. Disaster hits (of course) and in a last desperate resort to raise some much needed money very quickly, Deuce becomes a prostitute. And encounters every misfortune possible.
Sounds funny, doesn't it? And in the hands of some genuinely talented writers and directors, yes, it damn well could have been. But it's handled so terribly, so clumsy, so over-the-top, the humor dies out quickly and at the end, we lose faith and trust in summer gross-out comedies. And we desperately need those, don't you agree?
There's a running joke involving a hard-ass police detective named Chuck Fowler (William Forsythe) who's more or less an unfunny comic take on Tommy Lee Jones in "The Fugitive." David Alan Grier made his work in "3 Strikes," but having him constantly show his penis to Deuce (which is apparently pathetically small.
Or at least thin) is just not funny because no one here seems to know how to make it work. Schneider and co-writer Harris Goldberg ("D3: The Mighty Ducks," "I'll Be Home For Christmas") incorporate a butt-load of funny ideas into this script, but no one here seems to know how to make it work.
Director Mike Mitchell does not have the Midas touch when it comes to comedy. Gold, hell, he can't even settle for a bronze PLATING.
Everything is so obnoxious, so gross, so overplayed, it'll give you a headache. A migrane. Like the kind people got in the movie "Scanners."
It wouldn't be fair for me to say that there's no laughs to be had throughout the whole movie and it was totally without ANY merit: Oded Fehr is perfectly cast as the experienced smoldering prostitute. And Arija Bareikis is appealing as the love interest. And Schnider occasionally (early on) does deliver a chuckle with his performance.
There's a funny bit where an aquarium salesman appears to be either gay or a pervert and continuously makes double-ententes to Duece's confusion. And comedian actor Edddie Griffin (of whom my mother is a huge fan of) gets some of the movie's only laughs (belly-laughs) as a pimp named T.J.
T.J.:"I prefer to be called a male madame. Wait, that didn't sound right." He gets (probably) the movie's biggest laugh when he explains the prostitute food chain to Deuce, using Antoine's fish to illustrate his point.
And there are some really funny moments to be had early on and with some of the women Deuce services. Hey, you think the kind of MEN who pay for it are scary. Just imagine the kind of WOMEN who'd have to pay for it. But the movie stops trying less than halfway through and feels like it's on auto-pilot. Not just the director, but everything.
Look, I'm gonna say it right here, right now: Schnieder is just not a leading man, pure and simple. He does not have the looks, the height, the physique and charisma to carry a whole picture.
Even though it seems like this is the kind of lead that's perfect for Schnieder (an ugly, goofy, sexually-repellent man who could never get it for free, let alone be able to charge for it), he just can't quite pull this one off. Although this material (which he's partially responsible for could've derailed anyone).
Even if this one contained the best cast in the world, how much good can it do when you're working from a script you found in a condemned, rotting, stinking gas-station men's room on the urine-soaked floor? Look, Rob Schneider is just not the lead, pure and simple. He's the one joke character ("You con dew eeet!") and a supporting actor ("Judge Dredd, "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," "Surf Ninjas" and "Knock Off"). He's just not a head-liner, pure and simple. Co-billing, maybe, MAYBE. He should stop writing movies... or at least stop trying to carry them. Maybe a ensemble vehicle would help.
Schnieder was never meant to be an Oscar-contender, I know. But a box-office darling? Now Sandler, I can see, but...
Seriously, really... avoid this one. For good gross-out summer comedies, I recommend the following: "Dumb & Dumber," "Kingpin," "There's Something About Mary," "Scary Movie" and the "American Pie" trilogy. Check out Sandler's "Happy Gilmore," "Big Daddy" and "The Longest Yard."
FINAL WORD OF ADVICE: Avoid anything with Schnieder's name looming over the title.
--Really Paying For It, Dane Youssef