‘Gigli’: 10 Years Since the ‘Bennifer’ Bomb Dropped
'Gigli' with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck (Photo: Columbia Pictures)
You'd never know it, what with Ben Affleck hot off "Argo" and the Oscars, but Thursday is the 10th anniversary of the end of his career. You'd never know it because, as things turned out, the box-office bomb that was "Gigli" only ended the first part of Affleck's career.
Opening in theaters on Aug. 1, 2003, "Gigli" was the story of a macho gangster (Affleck), his lesbian minder (Jennifer Lopez), and a young man the mob wants under wraps (a pre-"Hangover" Justin Bartha doing a "Rainman"-era Dustin Hoffman).
To look at the film with 2013 eyes is to see something that's overlong, overly steeped in goombah-isms, and seriously under-funny for a movie billed as a romantic-comedy. Another thing those eyes — and ears — tell you: Affleck just isn't very good (or, alternately, is terribly miscast).
But "an unreleasable piece of sh--?" "The worst film ever?"
To understand those blurb lines, then you need to see "Gigli" as 2003 saw it: as a disaster waiting to happen.
'Gigli' premiere (Photo: Albert L. Ortega, Wireimage.com)
Add in writer-director Martin Brest and his credentials ("Scent of a Woman," "Beverly Hills Cop"), and things didn't look bad at all for "Gigli."
Then came Bennifer.
The first time audiences outside of Hollywood proper heard of "Gigli" was the summer of 2002. That's when Lopez split from dancer-husband Cris Judd, and rumors of a Lopez-Affleck romance surfaced. The tabloid-reported tale had it that the two stars met on "Gigli," and then became involved while making a second film together, Kevin Smith's "Jersey Girl," shot that same year.