Running time: 157 minutes. Rated R (language, some sexual content, and brief nudity and violence). In theaters Nov. 24.
Let’s set the record straight. Does Lady Gaga’s accent in the new film “House of Gucci” sound remotely Italian?
As Patrizia Reggiani, the crazed woman who had her fashion mogul husband Maurizio Gucci killed in 1995, Mother Monster comes off 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 puffed-up, ponderous drama whose quest for Oscar glory officially ends today. Arrivederci!
The abysmal “Gucci” would get a better grade, perhaps, if it was a term paper titled “How to Make the Assassination of a Famous Person Boring.”
Mystifyingly, the front-page killing and ensuing court battle only take up the last 10 minutes of this sleep aid. The preceding two-and-a-half hours are a glacial yet completely uninformative history of the luxe brand framed as a “Succession”-like struggle for power among the Gucci family.
Well, that’s what Scott and screenwriters Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna imagine it to be. Really it’s a hodgepodge of wacko performances and disparate tones that “Project Runway” guru Tim Gunn would call “a lot of look.”
Gaga plays Patrizia, a girl of modest means who meets rich Gucci heir Maurizio (Adam Driver, also Russian) at a party and begins dating him. They get married and she goes from wide-eyed and innocent to a savvy businesswoman with a thirst for power.
The movie starts around 1978 and ends in 1998, but vampiric Gaga and Driver never age or perceptibly change over two decades.
Jared Leto does his usual disguise act as Paolo Gucci, a balding and clownish cousin with big designer aspirations and little talent. When he approaches Gucci patriarch Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) with his crummy drawings, the older gent says, “You have ideas?”
Leto replies, “Does an elephant s–t in the jungle?” He might as well have said “It’s-a me, Mario!” because his performance is a stereotypical joke.
Al Pacino is fine as Aldo Gucci, Paolo’s pop who opened the first New York store, only his material isn’t as juicy as Jimmy Hoffa in “The Irishman.”
And Salma Hayek gets spacey for Pina, the psychic who conspired with Patrizia to off her hubby. Her scenes could be funny, weird or disturbing. Instead, they’re monochrome.
The problems of “Gucci” are greater than the acting, though. The movie, which feels longer than “The Ten Commandments,” never clearly expresses why we should care a lick about the machinations of some quirky Italians and their expensive loafers.
On TV, Ryan Murphy did a splendid job of explaining Versace and Halston’s spots in the fashion firmament and why Liza Minnelli in a red dress mattered. Scott and Co., on the other hand, make arrogant assumptions while we sit on our phones and make other plans.
You can’t fault Gaga for taking the molto meaty part. There are similarities to Ally in “A Star Is Born,” the role that snagged her an Oscar nomination, in that they’re both shy young women who become hardened by wealth and fame.
But the “Bad Romance” singer focuses so much on tics and facial expressions and her Slavic accent that there’s no soul, genuineness or vulnerability to the character. It’s like watching the “Paparazzi” music video on a loop for three hours.
If only Scott’s vision was as visually dazzling as a Gaga video. “Gucci” is a pale, ugly film whose underwhelming glamour doesn’t match the grandeur of a European fashion house. It looks as pricey as a knock-off Gucci bag on Canal Street.
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