Movie Review: Gigi & Nate

The movie starts on the 4th of July weekend. I immediately thought about Where the Crawdads Sing, which had a pivotal scene take place on the 4th of July. That got me thinking of one of the best movies of 2010 – Blue Valentine – which ends very sadly, and on the 4th of July.

Sadly, this movie is more likely to make a lot of critics “worst of” lists for 2022. It probably won’t make my worst list, but it’s pretty bad.

Nate Gibson (Charlie Rowe) is spending the 4th of July weekend with his family which includes Claire (Marcia Gay Harden, who is always fabulous). His grandma is played by another terrific actress – Diane Lane. The dad is played by an actor who seems perfect for this movie – Jim Belushi. He’s done so many bad sitcoms, and disappointing films. He’s on his way back to their vacation home in North Carolina, but gets stuck at an airport briefly. That got me thinking about the time I sat near Belushi in first class, on the way to New Orleans for a party Nokia was having. I was afraid if I talked to Belushi, all I’d end up saying was how funny his brother was. Turns out, he was hired to be the musical entertainment for the party. But I digress.

Nate picks up on a girl selling fireworks, and talks her into going to the lake with him and his friends. Earlier, we saw him jump into a lake from a huge cliff. He ends up getting amoebic meningitis (which I think is the name of a punk band I saw at CBGBs in the ‘70s). This causes him to become paraplegic, which you think would have happened a different way when you see how high the cliff was that he jumped from. He ends up in a wheelchair and needing constant care. Claire brings him a service animal named Gigi. It’s a capuchin monkey that has some rather cute expressions. And I hate to admit I did get a kick out of watching the pet dog chase it through the house demolishing the place.

An animal rights activist named Chloe (Welker White) is against this, and it does get a little unbelievable that animal rights activists would choose a guy in a wheelchair to go after.

Apparently, screenwriter David Hudgins based this on a true story, but turning it into a Disney style/Hallmark flick, doesn’t really serve it well. There are also too many subplots. On top of that, it is a bit preachy. We needed characters to be a bit more fleshed out. 

This thing is cheesy, schmaltzy, and at two hours, much too long for a family film.

1 ½ stars out of 5. I’m giving it an extra half star for playing the great White Stripes song Operator.

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