Deuce Bigalow – Male Gigolo (15)
MAYBE the catchy title says it all – this was a film based plain and simply on a name, a single, unoriginal premise and a few well-chosen, gross-out gags.
Yet while Deuce Bigalow wears out its welcome after a reasonable first half-hour, it nevertheless appeals to the lowest common denominator in all of us, combining as it does elements of classic Python, alternative ‘Young Ones’ humour and the contemporary scripting which permeates the films of Adam Sandler.
Here, Sandler stays behind the camera as executive producer. Instead, the star is Rob Schneider, long a Sandler cronie and frequent collaborator, writing himself a part in a movie which has been custom designed to hit the same audience demographics as Sandler’s The Waterboy and Big Daddy.
The difference is that Schneider is immediately more likeable, less irritating (he lacks Sandler’s raucous accent) and has a knack for physical comedy.
The story takes the titular Deuce, a lowly California swimming pool cleaner and tropical fish lover, and trasnplants him into the home of latin lothario Antoine, a high-class male prostitute whose materialistic home has been paid for by his prowess betwixt the sheets.
When Antoine jets off to Switzerland for a three-week business trip – a non-stop bonking marathon – he asks Deuce to care for his sickly prize fish and watch his palatial pad.
Within hours slobbish Deuce has torched the kitchen, destroyed the top-of-the-range aquarium and soaked Antoine’s 18th century Persian rug. He can’t afford to replace it unless he can earn real money.
In comes TJ, a ‘man pimp’ who persuades Deuce to use his body, not his head. In other words, Deuce becomes a ‘man bitch’, a ‘man whore’ – a gigolo. And TJ sets him up with the bizarrest set of clients on the west coast…
Deuce Bigalow – Male Gigolo‘s gags soon begin to wane, but there some genuine comic gems among the dross. Some of the humour – sight gags, one-liners, situations – can be traced straight back to the likes of Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel and Hardy.
On wrecking the aquarium, fish fan Deuce collects the rescues expensive fish and puts them in new containers – jugs, jars and the like. The fact that the most prized fish goes into a blender is not lost on the audience. It’s a fabulous sight gag and one which lasts the duration of the piece.
Then there’s the clients. A gargantuan, snack-eating momma. An unfeasibly tall Norwegian with a pituitary problem. A narcoleptic. And the piece de resistance: a garrulous sufferer of Tourette’s Syndrome.
The latter makes for five minutes of grand bad taste humour – like a live-action South Park – as the girl in question swears her way across town.
Schneider makes a likeable slob and enjoys some fine lines (and a funny Matrix rip-off towards the film’s end) many of them self-penned. Yet, despite all his efforts, and those of co-writer Harris Goldberg and director Mike Mitchell, Deuce Bigalow – Male Gigolo eventually runs out of steam.
It doesn’t help that a flabby romantic interlude slows down the plot, but ultimately Schneider’s pathetic weakling act has him resembling a transatlantic Norman Wisdom, and that will never do.