Having been kindly disposed toward “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” which I found amusing and even rather sweet way back in 1999, I spent the first 20 minutes of its sequel often laughing and figuring the bad parts were a case of solid comedic minds occasionally slipping. Then I realized I had it backwards: These were unfunny, moronic people with appalling movie-making sensibilities, and the funny parts — which increasingly became very, very rare — were accidents.
Rob Schneider (who co-wrote the film with “Corky Romano” scribes David Garrett and Jason Ward) is back in “European Gigolo” as Deuce Bigalow, once a man-whore but now retired and mourning the shark-related death of his wife, carrying her wooden leg around with him as his only reminder of her. While vacationing in bacchanalian Amsterdam (“like Disneyland for college students,” someone calls it), he meets up with T.J. (Eddie Griffin), his former pimp who, though prostitution is legal in Holland, works outside the union with his own harem of he-b****es (as they are known; I giggle every time someone says it).
It is not a good time to be in the man-whore union, actually, as a serial killer is bumping them off one by one. When T.J. falls under suspicion not just of the murders but also of being gay — he is more vigorous in protesting the latter charge, of course — he goes into hiding and persuades Deuce to rejoin the prosti-dude business in order to smoke out the killer.
In re-reading my review of the first film (for I have not seen the movie since 1999), I note that Deuce was a sweet, nice guy who helped the women he serviced by listening to them and being kind to them, not by having sex with them (which he never actually did). The intervening years have not been good to him. Now he is gratingly dim-witted and clueless, completely oblivious to his surroundings. At one point his dinner companion, a fellow gigolo, is choking on a piece of food and Deuce thinks he’s demonstrating a love-making technique: Yes, the movie is THAT desperate, using the old I’m-choking-but-this-idiot-thinks-I’m-doing-something-else gag. I’m fairly certain that bit was already overplayed when Rob Schneider’s grandparents were seeing it in vaudeville shows.
And while he meets the same cavalcade of freaks, the emphasis this time is not on gently helping them gain some self-esteem, but on ridiculing them. There’s a hopelessly obsessive-compulsive woman, a girl with giant ears, a woman with a tracheotomy hole in her neck that spews out whatever liquid she drinks, and a lady with a penis for a nose that grows erect when she is excited and which — well, when she sneezes, you’d better call a dry cleaner and the movie ratings board.
It gets grosser and more vile as it goes on, and the fact that some of the jokes are actually funny and even clever — all the business with the man-whore union and most of what Eddie Griffin says, for example — makes it all the more frustrating. Why waste good jokes on a bad movie? Why put diamonds in an outhouse? Speaking of which, why include a scene where Eddie Griffin accidentally drops an order of fries into a toilet and then eats them anyway? WHY?!
(I mean that “WHY?!” quite literally, by the way. There is no reason, even within the twisted logic of the movie, for him to eat them. He’s not starving, and they’re not the World’s Best French Fries, or anything like that. He eats them only because someone thought it would be funny to watch a man eat fries out of a toilet. THAT’S HOW DESPERATE THIS MOVIE IS.)
It is the first work by a director named Mike Bigelow. I assume he got the job because of his name. That or he slept his way to the top. Either way, one day he’ll look back on this, his first movie, and weep bitter, salty tears. I hope I can become friends with him so that I can be there when it occurs so that I can laugh at him and maybe also punch him.
D+ (1 hr., 20 min.; )