The highly anticipated “House of Gucci” by Ridley Scott isn’t quite the film everyone hoped for or anticipated.

It’s interesting how “Gucci” was supposed to be the surefire Oscar player, some even suggesting Lady Gaga back as a nominee sight-unseen. Now, it looks like the film will be lucky to even score a makeup or costume nomination.

The 83-year-old director’s second film this year following “The Last Duel” is tonally all over the place, despite a cast to literally die for. Scott can’t decide if he’s making a high-end mob film, a trashy Italian soap opera or some sort of Scorsese-inspired “American Crime Story.”

In this case, Scott isn’t the only one to blame for the film’s disappointment; both screenwriters have little to no experience with this kind of film or scale. The plot is a simple play-by-play of events, the rise and fall of the Gucci family, starting with Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga) setting her sights on Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver). What the trailer advertised as a wild ride is more like 30 minutes of actual story stretched wider than ’90s hot pants to nearly three hours.

Much of the dialogue and interaction between the Gucci icons isn’t interesting. Gaga and co-star Jared Leto, as the black-sheep Paolo Gucci, often feel like they’re working with different scripts than the rest of the cast, which includes Al Pacino, who is quite good, Salma Hayek and Jeremy Irons.

If Scott and his team had aimed to make a campy mobster flick using the Gucci story as a facade, fine, run with that concept. On the wild road to camp, however, “Gucci” takes a hard left turn into parody. There are a few stunning locations used in Italy, but the art direction and the cinematography fail to impress, especially compared to other films bearing Scott’s name, including the now superior “The Last Duel.”

A ‘HUMAN’ ALTERNATIVE

“The Humans,” based on the award-winning stage play, is not only one of the best stage-to-screen adaptations this year, but it might be the best example of mainstream genre fusion this year.

Is it a Thanksgiving horror film, a comedy, a suspense drama? It’s all those things and none of them. While “The Humans” certainly won’t be for every taste, it’s peculiarity and equally impressive ensemble cast are worth your time.

We meet the Blake family reluctantly joining youngest daughter Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) for Thanksgiving in her new apartment. It’s a pre-war duplex fixer-upper in downtown Manhattan that her father Erik (Richard Jenkins) can’t believe she’s moving into. The pipes make horrible noises; she has barely moved in and the third-floor toilet is funnier than it should be.

Mom Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell) has much on her mind, and her aggravation with the entire family seeps out in passive-aggressive bursts. Sister Aimee (Amy Schumer) is in career and relationship crisis, while Brigid’s boyfriend Richard (Steven Yeun) is the calm voice of reason when this family gets heated.

Some of the funniest moments of “The Humans,” and there are many, occur when no one is saying anything. In fact, Oscar-nominated June Squibb as the delusional grandmother is the perfect example.

There’s as much silent acting here as there is loud, obnoxious, yet quite realistic fuming. The hilarity is juxtaposed with moments of fear, loud unexplained noises, unsightly visions of a house-repair horror.

Houdyshell, who won a Tony for the same performance on Broadway, steals the film. She’s supporting-actress worthy if voters take the time to peel the layers of this film. Comedian Schumer also has never been better. Her performance is a balancing act of sarcasm and emotion that we’ve never seen her tackle quite like this.

Equally, Jenkins and Feldstein have been stereotyped in their casting, but Stephen Karam’s direction and script elevates what they bring to the table.

Unlike “Gucci,” there’s never a dull moment here.

Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor with Texas Art & Film, which is based in Galveston. Visit texasartfilm.com.

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