Recently, this movie popped back into my world because I randomly asked my mom on an Instagram Live, “What’s your favorite movie?” Without hesitation she said, “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo!” like a giddy little girl, in front of an audience. I laughed hard and asked again, “I’m sorry, that’s your favorite movie of all time?” She couldn’t think of any other movie to say. Now, let me explain something. My mom sees every Oscar contender, every year. She is educated in the film world! But this is what she came up with and we can’t judge her, because we all lived through a pandemic and everyone is traumatized.
Before I get into details, I have to say that this movie is dated. Very dated. It’s full of offensive scenes and lines, particularly towards women. But that’s kind of the point of this column, right? I write about movies most people don’t like! So, I am here to discover what it is or was that I loved about this movie when I was growing up. Because I did love it! And I’m leaning into nostalgia these days, just like the rest of us. (How many times did you watch the Friends reunion?) Maybe I shouldn’t have actually rewatched this movie after I said I was going to write this piece, but here we are! It’s like I’m growing up right before your eyes. So today I’m here to ask: Am I The Only One Who Loves … Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo? (No need to cancel me, I’ve already cancelled myself.)
I thought about this for days. And you know what? There was probably a time when this movie was on my short list of favorite comedies too. On Rotten Tomatoes, this movie has a rating of 22 percent and honestly? I feel seen! I’m part of the 22 percent! (Said nobody, ever.) When I was a kid, my mom took us to see Deuce Bigalow in theaters. Like, twice. I saw this movie two times in theaters, which feels like a big secret to spill, so you’re welcome. I probably learned what a “gigolo” was because of this movie, along with so many other things, like what Tourette’s syndrome and narcolepsy are. Some of the other lessons that stand out are the value of expensive fish, the importance of companionship (if you can call it that) and that tons of physical comedy can really overshadow crude dialogue!
This movie is like watching Uncut Gems for the MTV generation: It’s stressful, the main character needs to make money, there are cops involved, and it is also produced by Adam Sandler. It’s a movie made for a teenage boy. It literally opens with Rob Schneider’s character, Deuce, asking a hot young woman wearing a white T-shirt to dip her breasts into a fish tank so he can see through her shirt. I gasped when I watched this again, because I forgot about this “gag” in the movie that comes back at least three times! How did I love a movie about a lame dude who hits on women? This is everything I am against! But as I continued to watch it, I found some of its appeal. The thing is, Rob Schneider is charming. He has a really sweet side to him that makes his “womanizing ways” seem fake. That’s probably why he’s still single in this movie. He’s a wannabe fuck boy! So, the women don’t take him seriously, because he doesn’t even know what to do with them.
The premise of this movie is bizarre: An aquarium cleaner becomes a gigolo for three weeks to make enough money to fix the bachelor pad he messed up big time while housesitting for a professional gigolo. And comedy ensues! It has a funny cast, featuring comedians such as Eddie Griffin, Amy Poehler, and Norm MacDonald (for a scene). It even has a few Matrix fight references, which I didn’t realize was because The Matrix came out in the same year. Was this movie my Matrix? I guess so.
One thing about Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo is, there are barely any sex scenes. It’s all talk and no sex. I’m with it! I loved that it showed us that you could hire a nice man to come and play cards, take you to dinner, or rub your feet. When I first saw it, I clearly thought a gigolo was a glorified babysitter who did activities with you that were on your to-do list. He was also very thoughtful about each woman’s lifestyle and situation. That’s why when he’s taken to court at the end, all of the women stick up for him, because he gave them more than they ever thought they wanted!
This movie does have some romance, and it’s actually sweet! Deuce Bigalow falls in love with a woman, Kate, who he meets while on his gigolo escapade. He’s hired by her college friends to go to dinner with her. To Kate, it’s a blind date. To Deuce, it’s another job, but he finds himself attracted to her. So, naturally, when they start seeing each other, she’s shocked to find out he’s been “man whoring” (as they say) to make money. Here’s the thing: she blames him for being paid to go to dinner with her, but I blame her friends! Deuce was truly nice to her from the moment he laid eyes on her! Plus, he was a fake gigolo trying to make money to save his life. And he gave the money back! Why didn’t she call up her girls and say, “I can’t believe you lied to me and paid a man to go on a date with me.” Hiring a sex worker is totally fine, but hiring them for someone else who has no idea is pretty fucked up. It was the (86th) moment I remembered this movie was not written by a woman. And that’s OK. I love when men understand the perspective of a woman. More men in comedy should get to write movies, anyway!
While rewatching this movie, I coincidentally learned something about my boyfriend that I did not know before. Not only does he own Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo on DVD, but he stole it from the Hollywood Video he once worked at. (Hopefully the folks at Hollywood Video don’t read this article, because we share rent. If they do? He’ll give it back.) He liked Deuce Bigalow so much, he risked his job at a video store in order to keep the DVD so he could watch it whenever he was in the mood for a real aquatic comedy? It confirmed for me why I wanted to write about it. It also made me question our future together, but that’s another story. He agrees it’s dated, so everything’s cool now.
So, when questioning if I’m the only one who has a soft spot for this movie, I’ve learned that there are many of us. The Deuce Bigalow stans exist. We were all freaks who found this movie totally entertaining, despite its obvious flaws. We are the 22 percent of the Rotten Tomatoes rating, and we are not afraid to say that Eddie Griffin and Rob Schneider having business meetings in a hot tub is actually a really funny premise for a scene.