“Gotti” starring John Travolta is just as bad as you might imagine, and then some. I can’t say I blame director Kevin Connolly, who took over from a long series of unfortunate incidents that led to this production. Connolly was hamstrung by Travolta, by a really grossly bad script, and a series of producers some of whom had criminal records.
Last night’s premiere of “Gotti” was entertaining more for the celebrities who showed up– Regis and Joy Philbin, Susan Lucci and husband Helmut Huber, former police commissioner Ray Kelly and his wife Veronica, and their broadcaster son Greg among them.
I don’t know what those people thought of “Gotti” but in our packed overflow screening room, many in the audience fled the theater before the movie was over. (My friend said, “It’s late, maybe they were hungry.”)
“Gotti” has around 28 producers and looks like the all you can eat buffet version of a gourmet Martin Scorsese movie. You only realize how amazing James Gandolfini was in “The Sopranos” by watching Travolta act with his chin, the same way he portrayed Robert Shapiro in the “OJ” mini series. Between Travolta and real life wife Kelly Preston, who plays Mrs. Gotti, the movie is like an infomercial for wigs. (The only person they were missing was Joyce Bouffant– that’s a joke. Get it?) I guess Scientology is like the Mafia, so the Travoltas know their material.
Much of “Gotti” is Travolta acting against himself, although sometimes he has the kid playing John Gotti Jr, Spencer Rocco Lofranco– who’s in another movie maybe on Lifetime. The screenplay is so bad that there’s no sympathy or interest in anyone else, although I did kind of like the supporting work of Pruitt Taylor Vince, Stacey Keach, and Chris Mulkey. Like director Connolly, they made their best effort.