Former Rotten Tomatoes Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity has stated that one of the most disappointing aspects of the site was seeing a film receive a positive review that was at zero percent. It seems like Mr. Atchity will be quite happy to see the John Gotti biopic, Gotti, resting at a zero percent with no change in sight. The brutal panning has led a smear campaign started by the film’s marketing team directed toward the “trolls” who dare to bad mouth their movie. Unfortunately, their goal to make Gotti great is swimming with the fishes.
Gotti explores the life of infamous crime boss John Gotti (John Travolta) as he wise-cracks, hijacks, and whacks his way into becoming the head of the Gambino family where he would reign supreme for three decades. John, a self-proclaimed family man, sits on top of the Gotti hierarchy as his wife Victoria (Kelly Preston) defends her husband’s heinous actions by saying her husband’s job is to “provide.” Audiences are also introduced to an array of Gotti’s goons including Niel Dellacroce (Stacy Keach), Angelo Ruggiero (Pruitt Taylor Vince), and “Sammy the Bull” Gravano (William DeMeo) who are all portrayed so over-the-top they come off as caricatures of the mafia.
At the core of Gotti is the father and son relationship between John Gotti and John Gotti Jr. (Spencer Lofranco) who is being primed into becoming a part of the family business. Mr. Gotti had four other children that the film mentions but insists that you “fuhgeddaboudit”. Gotti Jr., who we are supposed to believe is a tough guy like his father, looks to be more concerned about how much hair gel he has left than taking down fellow crime bosses. Throughout the film, the father and son duo are shown interacting in prison during Gotti’s final days before his death. These scenes are sprinkled throughout yet so oddly redundant and devoid of any chemistry among the actors.
Kevin Connolly, yes, “E” from Entourage, was behind the camera for the ordeal, and must have left his copy of “Directing a Martin Scorsese Rip-off for Dummies” at home. To make matters worse for Connolly, he had to work with a screenplay, written by Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi, that ensues the same level of hilarity as the famous “gabagool” scene from The Office. The film even opens with Gotti proclaiming his deadpan love for New York City in the most laugh-out-loud manner.
Riddled with pacing issues, Lifetime Network performances, and a bizarre soundtrack headed by Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull, Gotti is set to be one of the biggest flops of 2018. There have been many movies deemed as “worst film ever” throughout the history of cinema. One that first comes to my mind and probably the minds of many others is Tommy Wiseau’s wonderfully awful The Room. While Tommy missed the bar on almost everything that makes a good film good, part of the wonder and charm of The Room is that the film stars amateurs, and is directed by an amateur. Gotti, which marks Travolta’s third zero percent movie on Rotten Tomatoes –no, that does not include Battlefield Earth– has little to no excuse for being this outright bad. While Gotti is far from the worst film in cinema history, it comes off as a head-scratching tribute to one of the most notorious organized-crime bosses in history. The cast and crew of Gotti would’ve done best to have left the gun and avoid this movie.