Disjointed ‘House of Gucci’ comes apart at the seams

The latest from director Ridley Scott badly misses the mark

Brad Keefe
"House of Gucci"

Well, they can’t all be winners.

A November release from a high-profile director and starring a jaw-dropping cast should scream “Oscar contender.” And “House of Gucci” may well end up with some nominations, but it’s not getting any from me.

Director Ridley Scott’s second big movie of the year — behind “The Last Duel,” of which he recently blamed millennials for its poor box-office showing — is a showcase of showy performances but a flat narrative tale that can’t settle on a tone.

It’s so disjointed it’s hard to even enjoy the performances or even really tell if they’re good in the first place. It should have either been more serious or leaned into its over-the-top tabloid tale of murder among the super-rich.

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When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) meets Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), she’s star struck by the scion of the Gucci family. Her humble roots seem miles away from the life of the family that bears the iconic name of the fashion brand.

Maurizio’s aging father (Jeremy Irons) warns that Patrizia is a gold digger, but this seems disproven when Maurizio chooses to give up his inheritance to work for Patrizia’s father. The two marry and soon become embroiled in a family struggle to control the future of the Gucci brand.

Maurizio’s uncle, Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino), considers him a more likely heir than Aldo’s own buffoonish son (a thoroughly unrecognizable Jared Leto). But Patrizia becomes a force of her own within the family, more engaged in crafting Gucci’s future than her own husband.

With this collection of acting talent, “House of Gucci” felt like it couldn’t miss. That it does so — and badly — makes it one of the year’s most notable duds.

Scott alternates between a romance, a self-serious drama and moments that flirt with camp without committing to any of the three. I found myself wishing that John Waters was tackling the same story with this cast.

Gaga does succeed in fighting for attention among a bevy of former Oscar nominees, but the performance isn’t a step forward from her turn in “A Star Is Born.” Driver's character has an interesting arc, but the poor plotting just makes the performance seem all over the place.

Speaking of all over the place, Pacino, Irons and particularly Leto all have moments (and accents) so over-the-top that it would have only felt right if Scott leaned into the tabloid camp.

Neither as engaging or as wild as it wants to be, “House of Gucci” isn’t Scott’s worst film, but it’s in the running.

“House of Gucci”

Now playing in theaters

2 stars out of 5