“Gucci… It was a name that sounded so sweet, so seductive. Synonymous with wealth, style and power. But that name was a curse, too,” says Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) in the opening voiceover of “House of Gucci.”
Hollywood has forgotten how to have fun. The importance of serious independent movies and smaller studios, such as A24, is massive — but movies with a big budget, beautiful locales and stunning actors hamming it up seem to be part of a dying breed.
“House of Gucci” is one of the last entities standing in that group, staying true to the seductive and stylish adjectives in its introduction. Director Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Gladiator”) has crafted a sprawling, excessive melodrama full of glamour, deceit and insanely inconsistent accents.
Based on the 2001 book by Sara Gay Forden, the movie follows Patrizia, an Italian socialite and daughter of a trucking business man, as she falls in love with Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), the Gucci founder’s grandson. She marries into the designer family, falling prey to the luxurious lifestyle and wealth.
She doesn’t want to just be a part of Gucci, she wants to be the face of Gucci.
Patrizia starts to pit members of the family against one other in an effort to get to the top. Things aren’t as easy as they seem as her ploy takes a dangerous turn.
“House of Gucci” is the epitome of over-the-top, trashy cinema. Masterpiece works are good and all, but can anything beat Lady Gaga saying, “Father, Son and House of Gucci”? Even if they tried to, Gaga’s heavy “Italian” accent would take them down quicker than a sip of espresso.
This is not a hate-watch or a so-bad-it’s-good movie. Everyone involved with the movie is having fun and doesn’t take themselves too seriously (well, except Jared Leto who probably lived as Paolo for a year). Scott wants the audience to have as much fun and he succeeds in doing so — this movie is a total blast.
Whether it be an intimate scene where Driver and Gaga make feral animal noises or Gaga and Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Blade Runner: 2049”) randomly dancing in a room while simultaneously planning to take over Gucci, Scott’s spontaneous direction keeps the movie lively, engaging and absurdly bonkers.
It can’t defend its bloated 157-minute runtime, but each one of those minutes are ferociously entertaining. Viewers will likely never be bored but instead mesmerized by the dazzling, stylish costumes — or unintentionally laughing their way through the movie.
Patrizia’s elegant wedding dress and a professional, chic pair of limited edition Gucci loafers are two exquisite costume choices that reflect Scott’s hyper-stylization of the Gucci story.
If the costumes and beautiful people aren’t enough, then the acting should keep the viewer invested. Each actor seems like they’re in a different movie and all speak like Russians (even though the characters are Italian), but somehow it all works in Scott’s zany take on the Gucci family.
It’s nice to see Gaga dialing it up in a darker role, far different from Ally in 2018’s “A Star is Born.” Patrizia is a Lady Macbeth-esque character and Gaga nails the villainous, conniving vibe. Driver (“Marriage Story,” “The Last Duel”) is the only stoic character in the lineup who comes into his own in the second half of the movie when Maurizio embraces the company.
Al Pacino (“The Godfather,” “Heat”) is an absolute delight as Aldo Gucci. One of the best actors of all time, Pacino hasn’t lost a step in a charming and funny performance — the movie’s best. The arguably overrated Leto even works in this movie as a sad, poor Paolo, which is a real testament to Scott’s talent to make Leto watchable.
At one point, Maurizio says, “Gucci is like a cake. And you’ll have a taste, and you want more.” He could’ve been talking about the movie in that line. Once the viewer gets a little taste of this world, they’ll want more and Scott delivers the goods.
“House of Gucci,” rated R, releases Nov. 24 in theaters.