Wednesday, August 17, 2005

REVIEW: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

Frequent visitors to this space are aware that I'm the sort that "enjoys" politics, at least in the abstract. Thusly, It usually takes a lot longer for me to "know" when the public discourse has become "too political" since on my end the public discourse is usually not political enough.

But every man has his breaking point in this areas, and this is mine: When the sequel to "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" unveils that it grounds a good chunk of it's humor in the realm of U.S./European post-Iraq culture-clash, I am more than willing to agree that the popular culture has indeed become too political.

The story once again follows ever-underused SNL alumni Rob Schneider as the title character, whom you may or may not recall from the original film is a geeky fish tank cleaner who briefly became a low-end male prostitute to buy his way out of a sticky situation. The gag of that film was that Deuce could only find "employment" with insane, disfigured or otherwise desperate female clients; and that the creative lengths he went to to avoid actually sleeping with these women had the side-effect of helping them find self-confidence. Shaky premise, yes, but it had it's share of blunt but effective grossout gags and Schneider's earnest straight-man schtick was consistent.

The sequel finds Deuce jetting off to Amsterdam to reunite with his friend and one-time "he-pimp" TJ (scene-stealing Eddie Griffen.) Deuce has run into some trouble following the death of his wooden-legged fiancee Kate, (devoured by sharks somewhere between sequels,) so the change of scenery will do him some good. In short order, he's introduced to the wonders of socially-liberal Dutch society (legalized prostitution, hash bars and topless weather reports) and the perils of wearing his American Flag-print T-shirt on the street. He's also introduced, through TJ, to the main plot: A serial killer is stalking the gigolos of Europe, and when TJ is wrongfully implicated as a suspect Deuce goes undercover to find the real culprit.

From thereon, the film is the expected sucession of gags, alternating between outright slapstick and verbal gymnastics via TJ's endless supply of gigolo slang ("mangina," "he-bitch man-slap," etc.) Some of this is very funny, such as Griffen's standout sequence wherein a housecat attacks his genitals. Some of it isn't, such as an extended montage where Deuce once again plies his craft with "odd" women who's issues just aren't as funny as the ones in the first film.

But it's when the jokes trend into politics, which they frequently do, that it just gets flat out strange. Deuce's flag-shirt earns him jeers of "imperialist" from the locals, but it's a pro-U.S. local who yells to Deuce to pass her thanks on to President Bush who winds up taking a brick to the head. Later, Deuce's polite request to an obnoxious Frenchman to extinguish his cigarette invites a zealous lecture about oil, Iraq and WMDs and ends with the offending Franco trussed up in the flag shirt, gagged and wearing a brick-drawing sign reading "America rocks, Europe smells like ass." Still later, the "mystery" serial killer (who's not hard to spot, you may guess) intimates that the gigolo killing-spree is motivated by a hatred of libertine Dutch social policy.

Accidentally interesting, occasionally funny and a few times hysterical. Not really reccomended, but not openly discouraged either.

FINAL RATING: 6/10