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1 item from 1999

Film review: 'Deuce Bigalow'

8 December 1999 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Having settled for second banana status in the past two Adam Sandler movies, fellow "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Rob Schneider has the spotlight all to himself in "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" -- as opposed to, what, a female gigolo? -- an unapologetically sophomoric but admittedly funny gross-out comedy very much in the sweet-centered Sandler vein.

Given that the scrappy Schneider doesn't possess the kind of childlike vulnerability that has earned Sandler a sizable female following, "Deuce" will likely have to settle for being a guys' movie. But its ideally timed placement in a market that is short on comedy should ensure that "Deuce" pulls in impressive numbers.

Schneider, who shares screenwriting credit with Harris Goldberg (Sandler's on board as exec producer), is the Deuce Bigalow in question -- a dedicated fish tank cleaner who dreams of moving to an oceanside property with his fine finned friends.

As fate would have it, Deuce ends up house-sitting for Antoine Laconte (Oded Fehr), a high-priced gigolo who expects his expensively appointed pad to remain impeccably intact upon his return.

Naturally, it isn't long before Antoine's $6,000 custom-made Living Color aquarium ends up in thousands of pieces on his priceless oriental rugs and you can see where this literal-minded fish-out-of-water story is headed.

Desperate to come up with the cash to repair the damage, Deuce ends up doing the male escort thing with a little assistance from T.J. Hicks (Eddie Griffin), a pimp who prefers to be known as a "man madam."

Since he's new on the job, the clientele isn't exactly top-drawer, as evidenced by the freak show-worthy lineup of narcoleptic, Tourette's syndrome-suffering, physical abnormality-touting females willing to pay for his services.

Along the way, Deuce makes the fatal mistake of falling in love with one of them -- the shy, one-legged Kate (Arija Bareikis) -- and for the first time in his life he's faced with a crisis of conscience.

While he's not blessed with that Sandler/Carrey brand of instant, follow-them-anywhere charisma, Schneider's got a sort of uppity Jack Russell terrier energy that can be effective in a controlled climate -- meaning he has wisely surrounded himself with an able ensemble.

In addition to Griffin's gender-sensitive T.J. Hicks, other bright comedic turns include Amy Poehler's sweet, obscenity-sputtering Ruth, the sizable Jabba Lady (Los Angeles radio personality Big Boy) and Deuce's restroom attendant dad (Richard Riehle).

And, in a reputation-skewering cameo, Marlo Thomas makes an unbilled appearance as a customer with a Teutonic fetish.

Coordinating all the requisite innuendo and poopy jokes with a bouncy eagerness is first-time feature director Mike Mitchell, whose extensive background in animation is put to good, appropriately cartoonish use.


Buena Vista

Touchstone Pictures presents a Happy Madison production in association with Out of the Blue Entertainment

Director: Mike Mitchell

Screenwriters: Harris Goldberg & Rob Schneider

Producers: Sid Ganis, Barry Bernardi

Executive producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo

Director of photography: Peter Lyons Collister

Production designer: Alan Au

Editors: George Bowers, Lawrence Jordan

Costume designer: Molly Maginnis

Music supervisor: Michael Dilbeck

Music: Teddy Castellucci

Casting: Marcia Ross & Donna Morong, Gail Goldberg



Deuce Bigalow: Rob Schneider

Detective Fowler: William Forsythe

T.J. Hicks: Eddie Griffin

Kate: Arija Bareikis

Antoine Laconte: Oded Fehr

Claire: Gail O'Grady

Bob Bigalow: Richard Riehle

Elaine: Jacqueline Obradors

Bergita: Dina Platias

Ruth: Amy Poehler

Jabba Lady: Big Boy

Running time -- 83 minutes

MPAA rating: R


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