Deuce Bigalow; European Gigolo

September 29th, 2005 Film, Film Reviews, Xpress

Directed by Mike Bigelow

Starring Rob Schneider, Eddie Griffin, Jeroen Krabbe, Alex Dimitriades, Kelly Brook

Little did Mike Judge, director of 1999’s Office Space and cult series Beavis & Butthead know he was creating the film that would represent one of the turning points in the media business. It didn’t make much of a splash at the box office, but several years later the distributor (Fox) realised people were buying the DVD in droves after it had become a cult hit.

It was the first time studios realised there was a whole new market for feature films. In some cases, the audience was an extension of that which had enjoyed the cinematic release (Disney was the first studio to spend as much marketing a DVD release as it had on the cinema release of a movie, for Finding Nemo). In other cases, the consumer of a film on DVD was a very different animal to the cinemagoer.

The widening up of cultural marketing’s pointy end by the DVD revolution has been both a blessing and a curse on films from audience perspectives. At one end of the spectrum, relatively inexpensive or arthouse movies survive and thrive, despite not getting a look-in at the multimillion dollar global marketing medium of cinema.

But then, there’s also the sort of slow-building, underground popularity of stuff we should never have suffered the first time (like Deuce Bigalow) which finds a niche and convinces studios that foisting the same crap on us again will make them money.

And unfortunately for every filmmaker with a great idea and another lost opportunity to make it in movies, they’re probably right. There are armies of easily pleased twelve-year-old boys out there somewhere.

If you’re anyone else, you might get a handful of laughs out of the two or three clever jokes in Deuce Bigalow; European Gigolo, but mostly you’ll just wonder what convinced you to give up $13 of good money for such puerile garbage.

Rob Schneider is the bastard child of both Adam Sandler and the Farrelly Brothers in their early days (now they’ve all moved on and used their increasing clout to work on better quality stuff).

He’s following the usual character arc of every other ‘actor’ excreted from the bowels of American TV’s Saturday Night Live before him, from Sandler all the way back to Steve Martin, Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd. They start with the disgusting/adolescent idiocy stage, inevitably move on to the less offensive charming idiocy films, and if they’re successful enough, eventually settle down in straight romantic comedy or comedy/dramas when they’re finally taken seriously.

Once again, Schneider is Deuce Bigalow, relocating to Amsterdam where he’s as unlikely a male escort as he was in the original. Drawn back into the life to investigate a serial killer knocking off the great gigolos of Europe, Schneider’s writing ‘talent’ dredges up the same jokes you suffered through first time, most of them of the car crash variety (some of them enough to put you off food for the rest of the day).

Most of the funny lines come from Eddie Griffin’s TJ, the Man-whore pimp trying to tap into the Dutch prostidude market. Other than that, plenty of shallow digs at modern Dutch culture and nauseating set pieces jostle for room amid a plot that hardly matters. Classy dramatic German actor Jeroen Krabbe and Aussie Alex Dimitriades should both hang their heads in shame. Schneider, on the other hand, needn’t bother, hardly having shown himself worthy of any better. And take note of the director’s name — is it an in-joke because he didn’t want to put his real name to this waste of celluloid?

Think twice when you’re standing in the ticket queue; it’s 80 minutes of your life you’ll never get back.


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