Running time: 157 minutes. Rated R (language, some sexual content and brief nudity and violence). In theaters November 24.
Let’s set the record straight. Does Lady Gaga’s Accent in New Movie ‘House of Gucci’ Sound Somewhat Italian?
As Patrizia Reggiani, the deranged woman who had her husband Maurizio Gucci murdered in 1995, Mother Monster comes across as Russian as Boris and Natasha, Mikhail Gorbachev and a cold bowl of borscht.
She’s as authentic as the rest of Ridley Scott’s bloated, heavy drama, whose quest for Oscar glory officially ends today. Until we meet again!
The hopeless “Gucci” might get a better grade if it was a thesis titled “How to Make the Murder of a Famous Person Boring.”
Oddly enough, the front page murder and subsequent trial only take up the last 10 minutes of this sleep aid. The preceding two and a half hours are an icy but completely informative history of the luxury brand, framed as a ‘succession’-style struggle for power between the Gucci family.
Well, that’s what Scott and screenwriters Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna imagine it to be. It really is a mishmash of crazy performances and disparate tones that “Project Runway” guru Tim Gunn would call “a lot of look”.
Gaga plays Patrizia, a modest girl who meets and dates wealthy Gucci heir Maurizio (Adam Driver, also Russian) at a party. They get married and she turns from wide-eyed and innocent into a smart businesswoman with a thirst for power.
The film starts around 1978 and ends in 1998, but the vampire Gaga and Driver never age or change noticeably in two decades.
Jared Leto puts on his usual disguise as Paolo Gucci, a balding and clownish cousin with big design ambitions and little talent. When he approaches Gucci patriarch Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) with his shabby drawings, the older gentleman says, “Do you have any ideas?”
Leto replies, “Is there an elephant in the jungle?” He might as well have said, “I’m a me, Mario!” because his performance is a stereotypical joke.
Al Pacino is fine as Aldo Gucci, Paolo’s pop who opened the first store in New York, only his material is not as juicy as Jimmy Hoffa in ‘The Irishman’.
And Salma Hayek gets room for Pina, the psychic who conspired with Patrizia to kill her husband. Her scenes can be funny, weird or disturbing. Instead, they are monochromatic.
However, “Gucci”‘s problems are bigger than the acting. The film, which feels longer than ‘The Ten Commandments’, never clearly shows why we should care about the machinations of some quirky Italians and their expensive loafers.
On TV, Ryan Murphy did a great job explaining Versace and Halston’s spots to the fashion firmament and why Liza Minnelli in a red dress mattered. Scott and Co. on the other hand, make arrogant assumptions while sitting on our phones and making other plans.
You can’t blame Gaga for taking the all fleshy part. There are similarities with Ally in “A Star Is Born,” the role that earned her an Oscar nomination, in that they are both shy young women hardened by wealth and fame.
But the ‘Bad Romance’ singer focuses so much on tics and facial expressions and her Slavic accent that there is no soul, authenticity or vulnerability to the character. It’s like watching the music video ‘Paparazzi’ for three hours.
If only Scott’s vision were as visually dazzling as a Gaga video. “Gucci” is a pale, ugly film whose overwhelming glamor does not match the grandeur of a European fashion house. It looks as pricey as a counterfeit Gucci bag on Canal Street.