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Once upon a time, if a past or present member from the cast of “Saturday Night Live” made a movie, four times out of five you could expect something really funny. These days the best you can do is hope for something that doesn’t completely insult your intelligence. Actually, if the movie stars Rob Schneider you shouldn’t even bother hoping. Just quietly check your brain at the door, try to remember what was funny when you were ten years old and do your best not to vomit your popcorn during the show.
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo has been hailed by some as Rob Schneider’s funniest movie. Please bear in mind, that’s kind of like saying “She Bangs” is William Hung’s best song. Deuce is a lame-brained, klutzy aquarium cleaner. When we first meet him he finds himself cleaning the inside of a large display at a city aquarium with several dozen children watching, with rapt attention. Five seconds later we discover why the children are so stunned. For whatever reason, Deuce is going about his business naked. We too are forced to endure the sight of Schneider’s bare derrière (a torture he continues to unleash on the audience throughout the show). The rest of the movie goes downhill from there.
As far as the basics go, Rob Schneider misunderstands how to make a funny movie. Most comedians who go into show business understand the value of childish gags and crude humor, but usually realize they can’t be the basis for the film and therefore use them sparingly. Schneider is obsessed with them, churning out one dumb bit after another so that by the time the first twenty minutes have passed you’re ready to put a plastic bag over your head and hyperventilate until the pain stops.
The extremely thin plot line to Deuce Bigalow kicks in when Deuce unwittingly finds himself housesitting for one of the world’s most successful gigolos (obsessively referred to in the movie as man-whore). A marathon session of Deuce’ klutziness leads to serious damage being done the house. He has to raise several thousand dollars in three weeks to repair it or face the slightly bi-polar wrath of the perversely sexy homeowner.
Knowing full well that he will never be able to raise the cash cleaning ponds and aquariums he turns to the world of male prostitution. His clientele consists of the strangest lineup of women conceivable. The movie becomes a repetitious cycle of bedroom sessions in which Deuce does everything possible to avoid having sex with the women while still doing something they’re willing to pay him for. The remainder of the story is peppered with oddball moments surrounding a client that Deuce actually falls in love with and an out-of-control police detective who is just as obsessed with a groin rash as he is with catching Deuce in the act of prostitution.
The lame repetitiveness of the humor suggests a sketch comedy mentality (likely ingrained from Rob’s years on SNL). The whole movie is like two dozen Deuce Bigalow skits strung together by a very thin piece of string. Schneider, who co-wrote the movie as well, spends a significant portion of the show getting you to suspect the most perverse things and then shaming you for even thinking it by showing that you had it all wrong. It’s a clever trick that earns a snicker the first time around but quickly becomes predictable and boring. Is there a bright side to this movie? Well. somewhere in the midst of all that sad humor may perhaps be a moral about what women really want from a man. If it does exist, it gets lost in translation.
Rob Schneider just doesn’t know how to be uniquely funny if he isn’t riding shot gun with his smarter and funnier colleagues like Adam Sandler. It’s a shame too, since producers seem willing to give Rob chance after chance to come up with a winning film. Schneider, unfortunately, just can’t seem to make it happen. You know you’re in trouble when your comedy resorts to elementary school levels with a woman randomly yelling words like fart and pee-pee. The only truly funny part of Deuce Bigalow comes at the end when Norm MacDonald is shamelessly (but appropriately) mocked for his silly cameo role. It’s always funny to make fun of Norm. The rest of the movie is a hopeless crap-fest of crude humor that seems aimed specifically at drunk college students.
The DVD package for Deuce Bigalow is, somehow, sadder than the movie itself. The bonus materials are thinner than the film’s plot and hardly even worth bothering with.
For starters the disc has that preview-or-die mode that refuses to let you skip to the main menu until all the previews have played. I hate that. Thank goodness you can fast forward through them, but its still a pain in the rear. Not a good way to start off the movie-watching experience. The next thing to greet you is a menu centered around Rob Schneider’s face doing a very creepy Kermit the Frog impression with his face.
The very title “production featurette” is insulted with what is offered on the disc. It basically boils down to a two minute montage-trailer, spattered with cast and crew sound bites. Certain members of the cast demonstrate their gift for saying stupidly funny things with a straight face by declaring Rob Schneider a sex symbol. At one point it’s hard to tell whether Schneider is talking about himself or his character when he says “You love him ‘cuz he’s tryin’; he doesn’t succeed – most of the time he fails – but he’s tryin”.
The original trailer for the movie is packed in there. It runs only slightly shorter than the “featurette” and contains much of the same footage. I’d usually be glad to see the original trailer included as many releases these days tend to leave it out. In this case, it feels like the least they could do. Laziness isn’t impressive.
The only other bonus features are a pair of storyboard-to-film comparisons. Comparisons like that are really only interesting for action shots where it’s fun to see the earliest planning that went into laying out the complicated sequences. It’s not the kind of thing you really want to watch of Rob Schneider seducing a woman with a German tourist fetish.
Glaringly missing is any kind of gag reel. I would hazard a guess that its left out because the only real outtake footage involves the cast breaking character at the sounds of someone breaking wind off stage. Nevertheless, comedies are renowned for having great outtake footage. It would likely have been the highlight of the disc.
There’s no reason to buy, rent or otherwise have anything else to do with this DVD unless someone offers to pay you to watch it. Movie-whoring may not be any more honorable than man-whoring, but sometimes we should be paid to have to sit through tripe like this instead of forking over $10.00 at the box office.
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