DVD Review – ‘Deuce Bigalow: Little Black Book Edition’

     March 16, 2006

Review by Kyle Alvarez

In the late 90’s, Adam Sandler hit a hugely successful string of feature comedies that his production company, Happy Madison Productions, put together. Spinning off from the success of his films Sandler produced a few of his friends films, mostly alum from Saturday Night Live. Most prominent and popular among them is Rob Schneider’s “Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo.” Released in 1999 to a bit of success, the film is miserable to watch with only a handful of laughs (most of which could just bee seen in the trailer anyway).

Just like Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore” or “Billy Madison”, “Deuce Bigalow’s” humor is primarily amateurish: stupid enough for children and silly enough for teenage escapism. Unlike Sandler’s films, however, the movie misses the few big laugh-out-loud moments that made them worth watching. At least Sandler’s movies would get so ridiculous and absurd, that it would at least feel somewhat funny (even if only temporarily). But “Deuce” does not achieve this as it almost reaches the point of taking itself seriously. Not only this, but Schneider attempts to infuse the film with some of Sandler’s trademark ‘aw shucks’ sentimentalism which only leaves the film even more cringe inducing.

Deuce Bigalow” is the story of the titular character who suddenly finds himself the caretaker of a successful pimp’s home. When he accidentally destroys the place, he must take cover as a gigolo in order to make enough money to repair the home. Most of the film’s humor comes from the bizarre needs and desires of Deuce’s clients. See Deuce himself being such an unattractive guy, most of the women he is assigned too are equally bottom of the barrel, all of them suffering from some kind ailment or insecurity. The jokes come from finding these ailments themselves funny, whether it be obesity or suffering from Tourette’s Syndrom. While the movie attempts to justify its rudeness with an equal does of sympathy, it just feels like we’re supposed to find these women funny just because of what they suffer from and not because they are humorously written. This lends itself to propagating a strong sense of mysoginism that just left me rolling my eyes not rolling on the floor.

Rob Schneider is surprisingly charismatic in the film, and significantly less over-the-top here as he was in his films that came later such as “The Hot Chick” and “The Animal”. Holding back on his part actually helps the film from becoming a complete failure. However, just like Sandler’s films from the same era, the entire movie’s entertainment hinges on finding the people themselves particularly funny. Schneider is simply not a funny guy. The film’s worst moments and characters are usually from the cameos of other recent Saturday Night Live alum. We’re supposed to find them funny just because of whom they, but their roles in the film are just plain stupid: generalized and exaggerated. The film even pokes fun of itself at the end, being totally aware of this flaw, when it makes light of Norm McDonald’s completely unnecessary (and unfunny) cameo.

Mostly, the movie just suffers from a repetitive predictability and really cheap production values. Maybe I’ve missed the entire concept of the humor or maybe I just didn’t find its libidinous point of view worth laughing about as it seemed to keep on demeaning women in a way that left the film with little to no credibility.

Video / Audio / Extras

So why should one go and trade in their old copy of “Deuce Bigalow” for the new “Little Black Book Edition”? Well, for no reason at all if one were to take a quick look at the special features. The features are essentially made up of edited footage taken from a video camera onset. In other words, the studio didn’t go out of there way to collect any new material, they just put together already existing footage. To add to that, the footage itself is awful nothing more than the director’s home video collection. While the special features menu attempts to differentiate among them, the disc feature’s titled “director’s video diary” and “fly on a set” are virtually indistinguishable.

Also included are seven deleted scenes. Most of them are simple extensions of previous scenes already in the film. They are wholly insignificant, and even the ‘new’ scenes have footage that was eventually incorporated into the final film somehow. Along with the deleted scenes is a featurette that is so bland I could barely sit through it. All it seems to be is made up of a director and actors suffering from a delusion that their film has a message when it should really just be an emotionless raunchy comedy. In fact, all the featurette seems to prove is that lead actress Arija Bareikis is completely clueless if she really believes, as she claims, that the film sympathizes with and empowers women.

All of this aside, there isn’t a single feature on the disc really worth watching. Not only do they not tell you anything new about the film or convince you any of it was worth while, the features are even less funny than the feature they accompany a hard task to achieve. To add to the insult, the DVD has one of the most immediately tacky DVD menus I’ve ever seen that is impossible to navigate and sore on the eyes.

Final Words

I’m not really sure why one would want to invest in “The Little Black Book Edition” of this film. It’s just another example of the studios trying to capitalize on the buyer’s trust that a ‘special’ edition implies there really is some new worthwhile material. Really the disc has just been repackaged and a little bit of cash was spent on cutting together some low-grade footage into something cohesive. Last year, the sequel to “Deuce Bigalow” (this time subtitled “European Gigolo”) came out. One can only hope that the studio withholds itself from the same double-dipping it has taken part in here.

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