DEUCE BIGALOW: EUROPEAN GIGOLO - DVD review

This is billed as the 'assume the position' edition, which, without explanation, I can only assume means thrusting a finger down one's throat.

James Plath's picture
James
Plath

If you know or care about what a Portuguese Breakfast is, you could be a "man-whore" . . . or at least be able to stomach this often inane Rob Schneider film. This sequel to "Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo" boasts Adam Sandler as one of its producers. And while it doesn't pretend to be anything more than a silly, crass, and lowbrow comedy, it also falls short of the best silly, crass, and lowbrow comedies—ones like "Happy Gilmore," "Kingpin," or "Dumb and Dumber." In fact, it doesn't even measure up to the okay original.

Don't get me wrong. There are laugh-out-loud moments, but in the second act, the film dips downward more abruptly than a hang-glider in trouble. Instead of flying, the gags fall flat on their obnoxious little faces.

Filmed in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Marbella, Spain, "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" sets both the tone and level of humor early. As a man-whore bounds out of a castle window after servicing the lady of the palatial house, he bumps into a maid. The old woman looks into his face, and, after a beat says, "Thank you for last night." Outside, when his escape appears thwarted by a machine-gun brandishing guard, the menacing male smiles and says, ultra-predictably, "Thank you for last night."

There are plenty of dumb running gags in this film that are guaranteed to offend not only the sexually prudent, but also anyone with a physical disability or personality disorder. Various nationalities, too. Bigalow, for example, carries his dead wife's artificial leg with him wherever he goes, clutching it like a Teddy bear. Apparently they were feeding turtles off the coast of Mexico ("Why would they let us swim here if there were sharks? This is Mexico. They know what they're doing.") and, well, that was the end of her. Asians don't fare much better, as one former card-carrying gigolo says, in Charlie Chan broken English, "I no more man-whore. Too much danger. I take my three inches elsewhere." And blacks get the treatment at a chicken waffle eatery that's populated exclusively by that ethnic group.

Just when you're ready to crinkle your eyebrows in disapproval, though, you might find yourself laughing against your better judgment. At the chicken waffle house, for example, as Deuce is listening to his former pimp talk up Amsterdam and the Dutch, Deuce says, "You do know that the Dutch started the slave trade?" Upon which T.J. (Eddie Griffin) pops his cork in public: "Those MUTHA F--ckers!" Same when you see T.J.'s "float crib" on one of Amsterdam's canals, a pink, pimped-out houseboat that has a bow that bounces up and down to blaring hip-hop like one of those pneumatically gifted tricked-out cars. There are also surprising and clever allusions to "Jaws" and "Airplane!," and some funny (if you can't stand George W. Bush) political humor as well. As Deuce tries to enjoy himself at the public aquarium, a man with a cigarette blows a cloud of smoke into his face. "Excuse me," Deuce lectures. "But in America, they don't allow smoking in Aquariums." Nonplussed, the man replies, "Ah, well in Europe, we don't unilaterally attack a country just to steal their oil." Deuce winces and he continues his rant. "What? Did I offend you? Are you going to shock and awe me? Maybe you should check my pockets for weapons of mass destruction!" But the topical allusions catch you off-guard enough to force a laugh or two. As one of the male gigolos is having his "ass hair" bleached, he says to the aesthetician, "I got the real Janeane Garafalo situation back there."

Far less successful is the toilet humor. And in this, I mean so literally. Some people may find it funny that one of the man-whores accidentally drops French fries into the toilet and then fishes them out one by one, popping them into his mouth and appearing to savor them, but I'm not one of them. Nor did I find the rest of the scatological humor funny, or scenes when Deuce is dressed in a diaper and baby bonnet and coerced to "come to mommy" when his trick wants to have some fun with his . . . well, you know. Nor did I break up when an obsessive compulsive that Deuce dates (Hanna Verboom) is milked for all the jokes that the condition lends itself to. But for the first third of this film, I found myself laughing every now and then. And laughing is pretty crucial for a film like this, in which narrative is little more than an excuse to tie together the gags. How many laugh-out-loud moments were there? Less than 10, which averages out to one good laugh every 8.3 minutes. If that's enough for you, go for it. I want more, especially since plotwise, not much happens.

A killer is offing the male prostitutes of Amsterdam, and Deuce gets in the middle of it—even appealing to the society of professional "man-whores" to work together to catch the culprit. The funniest running plotline is that T.J. is mistaken for the killer—and a gay one at that—which makes this pimp walk a pretty comic walk. Griffin is one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing film. Schneider is neither great nor awful. He's just there. It would have taken a mighty comedian to save this film from itself, and about all he's capable of is rescuing another character.

Video: With the DVD transfer mastered in High Definition and presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, shots of Amsterdam and Spain look great. In fact, the colorful canal locations end up being one of the saving graces of "European Gigolo."

Audio: The soundtrack options are English or French Dolby Digital 5.1, with English and French subtitles. As with the video, the quality is quite good.

Extras: There are a bunch of extras, but they're short and not-so-sweet. If you like the movie, you'll like the extras. If you think the movie stinks, well, grab a clothespin for your nose before you click on the extras. There are two deleted scenes, a Comedy Central "Reel Comedy" promo on the show, the shortest two-part making-of featurette I've seen (so short, it ought to be dubbed a featurettette) and short bits on "Man-Ho 101," "A Burger and a Bentley," and "So You Want to Be a Man-Whore." Again, when I say short, I mean, don't blink.

Bottom Line: "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" falls way short in the entertainment department, even for an underachieving film that aims for nothing higher than gutter humor. This is billed as the "assume the position" edition, which, without explanation, I can only assume means thrusting a finger down one's throat. Let the viewer beware.

Ratings

Video
7
Audio
7
Extras
4
Film Value
3