John Travolta's mobster biopic Gotti has earned the rare zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Barring a late-breaking fresh ruling from a dissenting critic, Gotti will earn the dishonorable distinction that would put it in regrettably rarefied air on the movie review aggregation giant. And considering the strange, ominous trip that the movie took up to its release, it's not terribly surprising that it ended up panned by critics.
The second feature-length directorial effort for veteran actor Kevin Connolly, Gotti tells the story of legendarily infamous Gambino crime family leader John Gotti, known as the "Teflon Don" due to his stunning ability to evade conviction despite his status as the most powerful, dangerous, and violent gangster in New York over a span of three decades. But eventually, Gotti met his end in a trial that convicted him for multiple murders, racketeering, and a wealth of other charges. There's no shortage of material for a director and actor to mine for a memorable biopic - but based on the critical reaction, Connolly and Travolta fell woefully short of what they were trying to accomplish.
Take a quick look at the Rotten Tomatoes page for Gotti and you'll see that, through 17 reviews at the time of this writing, the movie sits at a shockingly poor zero percent. It joins such anti-masterpieces as Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (35 reviews) and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (45 reviews) and dozens of other movies to get slapped with the goose-egg. It's the 36th movie overall to end up with zero "fresh" reviews, and two of them are also starring John Travolta: the 1983 Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive, and 1993's Look Who's Talking Now.
Critics generally describe Gotti as derivative and cliched, as well as sloppy and uneven. That makes sense, considering that Connolly was actually the fourth director to come aboard the project, following Nick Cassavetes, Barry Levinson, and Joe Johnston. The movie, which had been gestating for nearly a decade, also got dropped from distributor Lionsgate at the request of producers. Vertical Entertainment and MoviePass Ventures took the reins as the new distributors, aiming to pursue a wide summer release for the movie, which hit theaters on Friday.
It turns out that the move could turn out to be a costly one - and that Lionsgate may have been onto something to go for more of a limited release followed by home video. It's unlikely that a big fat zero on Rotten Tomatoes would entice any but the most curious of filmgoers, if only because of a morbid curiosity to see just how much of a trainwreck Gotti is. It's an unfortunate turn of events for both Travolta, who likely saw the movie as a promising star vehicle to showcase himself as one of America's most infamous crime bosses, and for Connolly, who isn't necessarily to blame for the mess that he inherited and failed to effectively fix.
Travolta remains an established veteran actor and this isn't his first flop, so Gotti may not be a huge detriment to his career. But it may be harder for Connolly to have his name attached as director to such an epic failure, especially if and when the movie bombs at the box office. Either way, Gotti may ultimately go down as one of mob cinema's most spectacular misfires.
Gotti is now playing in theaters.
Source: Rotten Tomatoes