The film is based on a book and spans nearly two decades from the late 70s to the mid 90s and depends on the relationship between Gagas Patrizia and Drivers Maurizio Gucci. The heir was initially abandoned by his father (Jeremy Irons) for marrying a lower-class girl before being recruited by his colorful uncle Aldo (Al Pacino), who sees Maurizio as having more potential to run the family business than his fateful son Paolo (Jared Leto, under the most unflattering makeup since Tom Cruise appeared on “Tropic Thunder”).
The story starts quickly as Patrizia has her sights on Maurizio and his father’s suspicions that she is “looking for your money like all of them” doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
Once together he is happy as an outcast, but she longs for more and urges him to regain family favor and eventually press for more control at the expense of his relatives, though she is often reminded that she claims the name “Gucci” comes from marriage, not blood.
“It’s time to take out the garbage,” says Patrizia in one of those lines that seem to have been written for the upcoming attractions.
It’s a very ancient story, but it takes unexpected turns when the money comes in and the authorities take care of the family’s finances.
Aside from Leto’s over-the-top, scenic-chewing performance “House of Gucci” really doesn’t go the extra mile to emphasize the absurdity of it, making the whole exercise sometimes more like a slightly bloated, over-starred lifetime movie than either obvious alternatives – namely a Farce in the style of the Coen brothers or a really gripping story about lust and greed.
Instead, one can enjoy this old “house” for the smoothness of its performances (although the accents, especially Driver’s, take a bit of getting used to) and the soapy situations without feeling like the attraction of that mix of tent names in front and behind the camera should give in.
After her breakout work on “A Star is Born,” Gaga demonstrates that she’s not just a one-trick pony. As for Driver, his unusual year included the bizarre musical “Annette” and the period drama “The Last Duel” (also directed by Scott), which reflect the actor’s in-demand without fully substantiating the reasons behind it.
Certainly the details that went into the look and sound of the film prove to be impeccable, from the disco music at the beginning (you could hum Donna Summer tunes) to the flashy fashions and catwalk shows.
So with the right mindset, go in and House of Gucci can still be a lot of fun. But despite all the extravagant features, it is on a shaky foundation.
“House of Gucci” premieres in US theaters on November 19th. It is rated R.