Rick Altergott
Gigli, the new Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck joint checking account, is as bad as you've undoubtedly heard. Actually, it's probably worse--after all, how does one properly describe a film that attempts to be a combo platter of Rain Man, Get Shorty, and Chasing Amy? The answer, based on early Internet pans and recent drubbings in the British press, is to focus much attention on a particular line of dialogue. Said line, uttered by Lopez as she tries to persuade Affleck to perform a little cunnilingus: "It's turkey time. Gobble, gobble."

Turkey time indeed. But while Lopez's line is a definite howler, it is also one of the film's few highlights, for chief among Gigli's failings is the fact that the picture simply isn't bad enough; if, like me, you've looked forward to seeing the film with a Showgirls level of anticipation--which early word seemed to promise--you will leave the theater supremely disappointed. Alas, there is no amazing new level of awfulness to be found in Gigli, just a terrible picture.

The story: Affleck plays Larry Gigli (pronounced like "really"), a low-level thug for an L.A. mobster, and not the sharpest of tools in the shed. Despite this brain inactivity, however, Gigli is assigned an important task: Kidnap the brother of a federal prosecutor and hold him hostage until the prosecutor, who has showered the family's New York boss with indictments, turns yellow and drops the charges. There's a catch, however, in that the kidnapee is either (a) autistic, or (b) mentally retarded. Why the confusion? Because the filmmakers never really explain the poor boy's affliction; one minute he's, "Ten minutes to Wapner!" and the next he's, "Look at the shiny trailers, Gilbert!" and as such the character achieves a level of insult not seen since Juliette Lewis fumbled her way through The Other Sister.

Confusion of disabilities is not the only confusion to be found in Gigli, though, since the picture also offers Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), a sex bomb in the guise of a mob fixer, who has been hired to keep an eye on Gigli. Ricki is also a lesbian--at least, for the time being (she is partnered with Ben Affleck after all)--and in one of the film's very worst scenes, Lopez delivers a lengthy speech on the aesthetics of penis vs. vagina while breezing through her daily yoga routine. Her main theory: The penis looks like a sea slug (or a big toe), while the vagina looks like a woman's lips--and you don't want to kiss a sea slug, now do you?

Point taken, J.Lo, but as Gigli limped through its running time, the option of tonguing any number of sea creatures instead of watching the film became a rather viable one. By the end of the flick, after both Christopher Walken and Al Pacino had made annoying appearances, and the two lovers--Lopez having chosen sea slugs over wet lips--sped off in a convertible (having abandoned their hostage on the set of Baywatch--don't ask), cinema as an art form no longer seemed necessary.

Am I exaggerating? Absolutely not. But don't worry about J.Lo and B.Aff, for they have a chance to redeem themselves in a scant few months. The vehicle this time: Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl. Turkey time indeed....