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John Leguizamo seemingly uses his life story as inspiration for a mediocre movie.
Review (with Spoilers)
Recently I was listening to Sommore on The Breakfast Club talk about how people look at doing standup as a launching pad, rather than a career, and also I recently watched Whoopi Goldberg’s first Broadway special. The combination of this made me wonder: why more comedians don’t take the characters in their stand up and turn them into movies? The answer John Leguizamo gives with this film.
Characters & Story
Jesse (John Leguizamo) from childhood to adulthood has always been an unhappy person. His mother (Olga Merediz) wasn’t what he wanted and needed her to be, his father was largely absent in his life, and his Gramps (Tomas Milian) was the only one who seemed to support and validate his existence. So, pair a crappy upbringing, with Jesse’s feelings of inadequacy, and you pretty much have the soul of the movie. One in which Jesse looks for love and validation; him being pigeonholed as an actor; and him interacting with women such as Zowie (Rosie Perez) and Lara (Radha Mitchell), as he seeks someone to show he isn’t as fugly, nor unlovable, as he sees himself.
I honestly haven’t had this hard of a time trying to write something for the praise section, if just because there is just so little in the film to praise.
To me, Fugly is a terrible, watered down, and condensed, version of most of Leguizamo’s stand up specials combined. For one, none of the jokes, which were funny in the specials, are found anywhere in this movie; Two, all the lovable, complicated, or even memorable characters of Leguizamo’s specials, they are either not seen in the movie, or anywhere near as interesting as when he played them; and lastly, because this film isn’t funny, doesn’t have good dramatic performances, or anything really of value, besides those involved getting a paycheck, even though it is around an hour and a half long, it drags.
Overall: Skip It
While I do not like this film at all and think you shouldn’t waste a minute of your time on it, it is only because the idea behind the film is good. For each of Leguizamo’s specials I consider classics, especially if you like comedy. However, I feel between the cast, the absence of laughs, and there being no real depth in the film, something along the way of making this movie went horribly wrong. To the point I can only hope, when Leguizamo is old and hopefully willing to let someone else handle his story, he will let them. For I can see, if the story was done right, an excellent film coming from a culmination of the stories and people Leguizamo has talked about. It is just whatever Leguizamo, and associates, were trying to do here with his life story, it utterly failed on multiple levels. Hence the label to skip it.
“I thought I had an inferiority complex, now I realize it was just good judgment.”
|—||Jesse – Fugly|