'House of Gucci' review: Entire cast is having a campy good time in entertaining romp
Courtesy of MGM/United Artist
Ridley Scott’s having quite the year after directing the grossly underrated “Last Duel,” but now finds himself in a different battle, one that doesn’t include swords and jousting, but an Italian dynasty riddled with lust, greed, and power. It’s a remarkable achievement “House of Gucci,“ running a head-scratching two hours and 38 minutes, works on the scale it does. Featuring a wealth of Oscar calibrated talent at its disposal, in the wrong hands and without the correct perspective, “House of Gucci” could have been a potential career killer (remember “Gigli?”). Nobody wants to have their performance linked to a Mario caricature, yet “House of Gucci,” which is the campy, soap operatic delight of your dreams, is a major, go-for broke moment for those involved. Everyone understood the assignment and the movie is better because of it.
Leading the pack is the irreplaceable Lady Gaga playing Patrizia Reggiani, an underappreciated businesswoman working for her father’s ground transportation company when she sinks her talons into Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) and casually floats to the top of his family’s fashion empire. Gaga, akin to the entire cast, is having a ball playing the heiress and sociopathic queen bee who ended up luring Maurizio from law school to take over the family business under the assistance of Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino bringing his usual suave antics to the proceedings). Even though Maurizio had a falling out with his father, Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons – wonderful) for marrying someone of Patrizia’s lower-class status, Aldo has big aspirations for his nephew considering his dimwitted son Paolo (Jared Leto – unrecognizable in his deeply layered prosthetics) can’t be trusted to tie his own shoes.
Out of all the deliciously over-the-top portrayals, it’s Leto’s that stands among the best. Sporting a thick bald cap, the Oscar winner goes off-the-rails playing Paolo, an aspiring fashion designer trying to cultivate his own business. The two handers shared alongside Irons and Pacino should be taught in classrooms for how dangerously close he comes to pushing, but every minor quirk or delivery of dialogue is *chefs kiss* level of outrageous tomfoolery. Of course, Ridley Scott, by having all the actors engage in a manner that’s laughable and cartoonish, did this by design. Sure, “House of Gucci” is a fable/murderous revenge tale, but it’s also a perfectly calculated satire about a family long overdue for the cinematic treatment. If only “Keeping up with the Kardashians” were this entertaining.
Outfitted with the pristine costumes one would expect from a movie about the Gucci family, designer Janty Yates is the unsung hero of the film alongside cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and production designer Arthur Max who bring Becky Johnson and Roberto Bentivegna’s script to life. Scott scurries through decades of material where the elongated runtime never feels like a crutch, but an advantage. It gives the actors ample time to dig into their already established personalities and experiment with dialogue while shooting a noticeable wink to the camera. “House of Gucci” explores the business side of the fashion conglomerate and how their years of mismanagement and masochism almost bankrupt the company.
Gucci was run by terrible people who cared more about ego and material items than growing a successful business that could sustain generations. Watching the chaos unfold throughout “House of Gucci” makes for an unbelievable journey punctuated with cocaine induced performances. Thankfully, the movie is smarter than the audiences and even though it might trigger an eyeroll or two, you won’t find a more outlandish and ludicrous movie all year. Grab a big glass of wine and settle in for the long haul.
HOUSE OF GUCCI opens in theaters Wednesday, November 24th.