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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Retro Review: Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo (1999)

Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo 
Cast: Rob Schneider, William Forsythe, Eddie Griffin, Amy Poehler
Genre: Sex Comedy/Slapstick 
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $92 million 

Plot: Deuce Bigalow is a less than attractive, down- on- his- luck aquarium cleaner. One day, he wrecks the house of a gigolo and needs quick money to repair it. The only way he can make it is to become a gigolo himself, taking on an unusual mix of female clients. He encounters a couple of problems, though: he falls in love with one of his unusual clients & a sleazy police officer is hot on his trail

'Low-Brow Sex Farce Masquerading As A Chick-Flick'

The only other time I saw Rob Schneider in a movie was when he was playing Cedric, the Plaza Hotel Bellhop in 1992's comedy caper sequel, Home Alone 2. But that was a long, long time ago. 

Here, Rob Schneider plays the self-titled character, Deuce Bigalow - no relation to real-life movie director Katherine Bigelow (hence, the 'E' in her name instead of an 'A'): a pool cleaner turned Lothario, in this tale of love, lust and trust. 

It is a comedy movie with a romantic comedy subplot where the lovable loser is dragged on his feet by going through one crazy scenario after another before he falls in love. There is one problem with that, though: Schneider's goofy persona is not enough to carry off this film. I don't know whether this was inspired by 1980's American Gigolo, or it was just something Adam Sandler wanted to make a comedy out of, based on that concept. 

This film amuses me sometimes, but also it is utterly daft and stupid at the same time as well. 

By all means, there is a lot of silliness, toilet and slapstick humour (the farting in the public toilet) and it's raunchy and crude at times. The Tourettes girl and the blind girl, whilst it was supposed to be amusing, I can understand why some people may find those characters offensive, as it generally mocks their conditions. It can also be interpreted as being mean-spirited and tasteless as well, and I don't blame people for thinking that way. When the guy calls the extremely tall woman ''a huge b****'', I wasn't laughing. It didn't make me laugh. That was supposed to be a joke, but the way he said it wasn't funny. 

The humour is a bit touch- and- go: the part where the other gigolo shoots a spear at Deuce and the fat Black drag woman comes in to save him - only for the spear to strike his/her belly and when she pulls it out, there's a roast chicken (!) at the end of it, which she then eats, was amusing in my eyes. But apart from that and save for a few other tidbits, I was like 'meh'. 

But by scratching underneath the surface, interestingly also it sort of has something to say about being in love and insecurities and prostitution in general and specifically with this film, male prostitution. That there is a difference between being in love and falling in love: and here as a prostitute, one can be in love, but falling in love with the other person? It can be complicated, but also it is a risk worth taking, as exemplified in movies Pretty Woman and Leaving Las Vegas. Yet that humanist message gets completely lost in the film as it operates more as a farce comedy, - and as such is overwhelmed by sight gags mocking disability, obesity and Tourette's syndrome and throwing in some flatulence jokes. As far as the love story aspect goes, when the film dives into this territory, it becomes overly sappy and sentimental that is on the verge of teeth- rotting.  

The characters he meets, they are so larger than life: as well as the big Black drag woman, we have the woman with Tourettes (played by SNL comedienne & actress Amy Poehler), a very, very tall woman and a blind woman. I must say Kate, the girl of whom Deuce falls in love with, who has a prosthetic leg, could have been a lot better. I just wasn't convinced by the actress who plays her. I'm not saying she should be completely flat out gorgeous and hot looking, but she looks like a plain Jane and that character was boring actually.  

Also, The Matrix -esque style sequence just didn't cut it for me. Come the end of the film, I just really didn't care much for it: despite the messages about falling in love and being a prostitute has its pros and cons, Deuce Bigelow is a really daft movie with jokes that can become easily repetitive and that once you've seen them all, they wear thin, extremely quickly. The gags are cheap, even more low-grade than per usual as it resorts to juvenile fart gags. The repetition of the word 'man whore' bored me after the third time it was uttered. I was also surprised that for a sex comedy, there was a meticulous lack of sex scenes in this film - yet plenty of scenes of Rob Schneider going shirtless. 

After this movie and the sequel which bombed, one can understand why his career didn't take off like with Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey and many other comedians-turn-actors, who've made that successful transition from TV and stand-up comedy to feature film comedy. 

Final Verdict:

This is a no-brainer, non-PC and low-brow farce of a comedy whilst masquerading as a type of romantic comedy chick- flick, and some or be it a lot of people may not be a fan of overdone comedy. Therefore, if you are not into this type of humour or films like this, then you will not enjoy Deuce Bigelow.

Compared to other low- brow farce slapstick comedies I've watched, I prefer those movies to this one. I enjoy watching them: some examples being Naked Gun, Fathers' Day and Tommy Boy, but what sets those films apart from this one is that the humour and gags are never mean-spirited, tasteless, nor comes across as being so. Deuce Bigelow, however, is mostly crude-based humour. 

It just didn't have more of the comedy that wasn't reliant on the mean-spiritedness and gags; that and the jokes become wearisome, and you have a comedy that should have been a whole lot better & enjoyable in all apartments.  

*score last updated: 12 June, 2017*


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