Touchstone Pictures // 1999 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Norman Short (Retired) // July 6th, 2000
He charges $10 but he's willing to negotiate.
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo is a well-meaning and somewhat endearing comedy but goes for too much gross-out humor and too many cheap jokes to be truly funny. An uneven film, it does provide some laughs amidst some almost painfully unfunny scenes. This first entry from Adam Sandler's production company follows closely in his footsteps so far as comedy is concerned, and that is not always a good thing. I'll admit I liked Happy Gilmore, but others have fallen short. Not saying this is Adam's fault, just there is some analogy in there somewhere. A funny premise is made less than it could have been by cheap fart jokes and way too many refrains of the term "man-whore." This is what has become a fairly typical Disney DVD release; namely a very good anamorphic transfer (hard to believe I'm calling anamorphic typical for Disney, but hey I give credit as fast as I rant on) and decent soundtrack with scant extras and forced pre-film trailers. Still it's not all bad, not at all.
Like I said, it's not that bad. I got quite a few chuckles out of the film. The premise is pretty solid. Deuce Bigalow (SNL's Rob Schneider, who also co-wrote the film) is a lowly fish tank cleaner who happens to meet a boytoy named Antoine who has to leave his sick fish behind while he's out of town. Instantly Deuce is housesitting for the sick fish in the lap of luxury. The lure of this high-class gigolo's lifestyle is too hard to resist, though he finds that he has to start at the bottom, so to speak. A pimp named T.J. (Eddie Griffin) takes Deuce under his wing, while using a perfect analogy of his place in the pecking order; that of the lowly scum sucking fish that skim the bottom of the tank. Since Deuce knows everything about fish, he understands. So Deuce goes out with a series of misfit women who mostly couldn't find a date on their own: a huge black woman who eats so much she can't leave her bed, a narcoleptic who can't seem to stay awake for more than two sentences, a mutant woman who must be 8 feet tall (you never even see her head as she towers out of screen above the short Rob Schneider), and a nice girl with one of the worst cases of Tourrette's Syndrome I've ever heard. Inevitably there is the one girl who doesn't realize his new occupation and he falls in love. What are the odds that the girl will find out and break things off?
All of the above was pretty funny, especially in the short term. If you don't mind a fair amount of bad taste in your comedy anyway, as this goes far into the politically incorrect spectrum of making fun all these people, along with the blind, amputees, and anything else they can think of. This is essentially a very good sketch that tries to run feature length. The film only runs 85 minutes or so, and I doubt more could have been squeezed out of it. Still, there are some great sight gags in the film, along with some good lines here and there. And the film is well-meaning; Deuce comes off as a sympathetic loser, who doesn't actually sleep with the women he "dates." If there is a moral to the tale, it is that women don't need sex so much as they need someone to make them feel good about themselves. And he makes an admirable try at it, such as finding a place where the lady with Tourrette's can shout obscenities without embarrassment. Here the movie manages to stay sweet despite some heavy influences trying to turn it into something else.
As I said, Disney has really gotten on board with the anamorphic transfers lately. Not all their films yet, but most of the new releases anyway. And usually they can be counted on for a good looking picture. The colors are vivid and rich, the detail is very sharp. Some bits of edge enhancement creep up now and then, but barely noticeably, and overall it is a very clear and crisp look. The locations look great, as do the sets.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is pretty typical comedy fare, mainly focusing on the front soundstage. Mainly dialogue driven in the center channel, the sound does expand across the main front speakers well enough and pretty much relegates the surrounds to the score. Still, everything is clear and you can understand every word and ahem...sound effect, often of bodily functions.
It's those nasty "other influences" that hurt the movie. Bathroom humor is in abundance, and the gross-out humor doesn't really work. In some films it can, but not here. The jokes that do work get overused in an effort to flesh out what might be a good half hour sitcom into an hour and a half.
A semi-astute viewer will instantly see the resemblance between Ace Ventura and Deuce Bigalow. Certainly they are shooting for the same crowd here. Out of the two the first Ace Ventura film is much better, due to the comedic presence and versatility of Jim Carrey. Still not such a bad try.
Must I say this every time I review a Disney disc? DVD viewers do not want to be forced to watch trailers before they get to the film or even the main menu. Trailers quit being considered extras when they are forced upon you, and become annoyances instead. Is this truly what you want; an annoyed viewer even before the film begins? I don't mind, in fact I'm happy to have trailers for other pictures included as extras, but when I pop in a disc I want to watch the frickin' movie on the cover. That is part of why we love DVD over VHS; that we control what we watch and when. In this case the trailers are for Mystery, Alaska, Outside Providence, and Happy, Texas and are skipped using the chapter search button on most remotes. Disney has also seen fit to include a "behind the scenes featurette" that runs an incredibly 2 and a half minutes. That is a trailer or a long TV spot, not a featurette. Better, though still little enough, are the two scenes shown with storyboards split with the film. The theatrical trailer for Deuce completes our extra content, though thankfully it isn't also forced on us at the beginning.
I didn't hate Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. I did laugh a fair amount during the film. I'd call it a decent distraction, and there are certainly about 40 good minutes among the 85-minute movie. Given Disney's forced trailers, I'd recommend a rental first unless either you already know you like the film and that the previews don't bother you.
Disney is again fined for forced advertisements and a lackluster sense of caring about the DVD community. Still, kudos for going anamorphic on their transfers, and making some pretty good movies; often better ones than this. The film is acquitted but I've got my eye on these folks and the gavel might just pound guilty on them next time.
Review content copyright © 2000 Norman Short; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Storyboard to Film Comparison Scenes