"We walk together, we fall together," says mob kingpin John Gotti to his son in the ridiculous gangster biopic Gotti. In the moment, he's delivering yet another piece of hardened street-wisdom, one of the many bumper sticker-ready koans delivered with an amused smirk by star John Travolta, but he could also be talking about the doomed fate of the low-rent film that surrounds him. Like the Teflon Don himself, the movie has been no stranger to bad press. Unfortunately for the film, the charges against it mostly stick.
As of this writing, Gotti has made $1.6 million at the box office and still has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a distinction that's rarer than you might assume. With 25 reviews collected, including 14 from "Top Critics," the film doesn't have a single positive review on the site. For some context, recent critically reviled films like Will Smith's fantasy mess Bright or the tedious superhero blockbuster Justice League scored 26% and 40%, respectively. Gotti's brutal 0% showing puts in a conversation with movies like the Adam Sandler Western Ridiculous 6 and the forgotten Eddie Murphy vehicle A Thousand Words. Not exactly an elite club you'd want to join.
And the reviews themselves aren't just polite pats on the head. The New York Post declared Gotti "the worst Mob movie of all time," and the headline for Rolling Stone's missive called it "a mobster biopic that deserves to get whacked." In his one-star review for RogerEbert.com, critic Brian Tallerico ended his piece with a note of sadness for the mobster himself, writing "he may have been a murderer, but even Gotti deserved better than this."
But is Gotti getting a bad wrap? As soon as the stories about the RT rating started making the rounds, I became curious. Is this thing really as bad as everyone says it is? The idea of a Travolta-led Gotti biopic directed by Kevin Connolly (aka "E" from Entourage) and featuring multiple songs by Pitbull sounds like a throwaway 30 Rock joke. At the same time, maybe it's actually an entertaining movie, like other Rotten Tomatoes failures?