Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
Rating -

Comedy (US); 1999; Rated R; 88 Minutes

Rob Schneider: Deuce Bigalow
William Forsythe: Detective Chuck Fowler
Eddie Griffin: T.J. Hicks
Arija Bareikis: Kate
Oded Fehr: Antoine Laconte
Gail O'Grady: Claire

Produced by Barry Bernardi, Sidney Ganis, Jack Giarraputo, Harris Goldberg, Adam Sandler; Directed by Mike Mitchell; Screenwritten by Harris Goldberg, Rob Schneider

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Written by DAVID KEYES

"Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" accentuates enough bad taste to almost pass off as part of a Farrely brothers comedy. Behind a character whose job is, more or less, too ordinary to warrant an excuse for perversion, there lies crudeness beyond our wildest expectations. The character in question, Deuce Bigalow, is an exotic fish-tank cleaner who has been assigned to watch after a fish at the residence of a male escort while he is away in Europe. But the fish tank breaks, spills all over a multi-thousand dollar rug, and causes enough damage in the house to give its owner an excuse to commit murder. The solution? Deuce must prostitute himself in hopes that he can immorally (not to mention illegally) gather up enough money to repair all that is damaged before the owner returns. This sets Mr. Bigalow up for a series of quirky and peculiar experiences, as he makes his way into the homes of odd females, attempts to avoid physical encounter, finds uncomfortable ways to please them, and manages to walk away with both his dignity and cash.

Of course, all of these descriptions do not sound funny to begin with, but "Deuce Bigalow" is quite an amusing little comedy, and not just because it is a tasteless one. The writers have mapped out a simple story of zany proportions, and have given us characters that lack common sense and, sometimes, even human decency. Thus, it comes off almost naturally to them when they fall into a series of events that are disturbing, ironic, embarrassing, crass, or even stupid. Only the execution of these events determine the film's worth, and in most ways, there is seldom a wasted moment of humor here. The precision is almost uncanny.

Then again, isn't that what we should come to expect from a man who cleans fish tanks for a living? Deuce's job, moving from one exotic fish tank to the next, is one stuck in neutral; his career consists of nothing more than cleaning out local exotic fish tanks, rescuing poor little goldfish from toilet bowls, and visiting the pet shop every day for some sea snails (he only takes the ones on the bottom of the tank, just so that the clerk will lean over far enough to get her T-shirt wet). But then a male prostitute by the name of Antoine (Oded Fehr, who was in Stephen Sommers' "The Mummy") requests his services. In a hand-crafted tank that sits several feet high, there is an exotic fish in dire need of assistance (Deuce explains it as a "gill disorder"). Since it requires weeks or so of observation, and Antoine is off to Switzerland, Deuce is forced to accept an invitation into this gigolo's home to keep an eye on the fish.

To be expected, things go drastically wrong when the fish tank crumbles. An aquarium expert charges 6 thousand dollars to repair it, but where in the world will Mr. Bigalow come up with that kind of money? Soon, the answer becomes quite clear, and T.J., an upstate pimp who specializes in male prostitutes, is offering his help in getting Deuce all the big clients of the male whore world.

And oh what a slew of creatures he encounters! There is one who is roughly the size of Montana, one that is as high as a steeple, one who suffers from a disorder that causes her to shout out uncontrollable slurs, and another who falls asleep without warning. None of them bear any kind of resemblance by a long shot, but each, in a way, admire Deuce because he never takes advantage of their urges for sex. But he does, however, do things to subvert their need for it; for instance, the girl who shouts out cuss words uncontrollably feels out of place and unwanted (she explains that it is dangerous for her to go to elementary schools and churches); then Deuce takes her to a baseball game, in which her shouting is greeted with warm participation from the surrounding spectators, angry at the prospect of an umpire calling a safe man "out." Rob Schneider, as one of the infamous "Saturday Night Live" bad boys, turns out to be quite a serious and conscious actor when it comes to treating women respectively. He may also be the first of those few who actually has women interested in his body.

Some will argue that the film takes a while before it starts warming up, and in all honesty, they have the right; "Deuce Bigalow" gets off to a slow, infuriating start, and as such may lose the audience before the real solid humor starts kicking in. But those who manage to get past it will be rewarded with almost relentless wit, which rises off of the characters as they are guided through embarrassment, sexual encounters, and good ol' fashion human disgust. This is the movie that "Outside Providence" should have been, and what "Superstar" tried to be but failed.

1999, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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