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DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGOLO

Review by Andrew Manning (11/99)

Release: 1999, Buena Vista
Starring: Rob Schneider, Arija Bareikis, William Forsythe, Eddie Griffin
Director: Mike Mitchell
MPAA Rating: [R] sexuality, language
Genre: Comedy



SUMMARY


Deuce Bigalow (Schneider), an out of luck pool cleaner, accidentally destroys an expensive fishtank while housesitting for a gigolo. To raise the money needed to replace the tank before the owner returns from vacation, Deuce accepts phone calls from the gigolo's clients and begins escorting. All wackiness ensues.


THE SEVEN-SECOND RUNDOWN


Dumb but funny, Deuce Bigalow is a better time at the movies than more manipulative efforts like Big Daddy.


WHAT'S GOOD


Why bring up Big Daddy? Because Deuce Bigalow is touted as "from the producers of Big Daddy" and is cranked out by Adam Sandler's production company. Let's clear up one thing: virtually all movies from '90s SNL alum follow that certain cookie-cutter formula that takes a loser and has you rooting for them by the end of the show. They all have standard Hollywood archetypes and cheap plot twists. And while Deuce doesn't really transcend that stereotype, it doesn't feel nearly as calculating as most of the Adam Sandler films we've been subjected to recently. Deuce is actually funny, and for once it's nice to see Schneider on the big screen playing something besides Sandler's bitch...

Deuce Bigalow follows the exploits of its title character, a pool cleaner and general handyman who has an affinity for fish. While at the luxurious home of a male gigolo, he notices that an exotic fish swimming around in a $6,000 tank is sick. Deuce eventually agrees to take care of the fish and housesit while the gigolo is traveling in Europe "on business." Of course, all wackiness ensues when Deuce shatters the tank and needs quick cash to fix all the damage: he resorts to male whoring.

Yes, it's pretty stupid, but the movie makes light of the whole thing, and the entire cast is filled with humorous misfits. T. J. Hicks, a hilarious pimp who specializes in "man-whores" and "he-bitches," comes to Deuce's assistance and hooks him up with clientele. And what a clientele he winds up with: a giant woman so tall we never see her head, a girl suffering from tourette syndrome who uncontrollably shouts out vulgarities, an enormous fat lady who has her mind on food and food on her mind (I'm convinced this character is played by Los Angeles disc jockey Big Boy in drag).

The gigolo Deuce is housesitting for, Andre La Conte, is also funny: a self-absorbed narcissist whose answering machine is simply, "Hello, this is Andre. Of course you can leave a message." And to top it off, a loose cannon cop with a personal grudge against Andre pursues Deuce throughout the movie. The only thing is, whenever he confronts Deuce, he feels compelled to whip out Mr. Happy and go off on a rant.

The movie also features a clever parody of The Matrix, a "true love" subplot in which Deuce meets the woman of his dreams, and a riotous argument with a hooker about who should pay who. There are a few gross-out scenes, including the infamous chocolate margarita (it's not what you're probably thinking, but it's still stomach-churning).

Deuce Bigalow isn't as over-the-top as There's Something About Mary or Austin Powers, but it has its moments and sports a funny cast of characters. It's certainly in the upper echelons of Saturday Night Live alum films--but then again, when you're competing with crap like A Night at the Roxbury and It's Pat, that's not very hard to do.



WHAT'S BAD


Falling into some of the pitfalls of the typical SNL flick, Deuce Bigalow feels compelled to have a soapbox courtroom moment at the end that almost mirrors the insipid courtroom scene at the end of Big Daddy, sans the little kid. Plus, there's the token "love on the rocks" scene in the middle of the movie that threatens to send Deuce to Heartbreak Hotel. I don't know why a movie like this is forced to have serious moments, but they would have done better to drop the sap and stay with the low-brow antics.

Rating: 6 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
MORE ABOUT RATINGS

SEE ALSO...
Movie Review: Big Daddy
Movie Review: The Matrix
Movie Review: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me


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