John Travolta’s Mafia Movie ‘Gotti’ Cops A Savage 0% On Rotten Tomatoes

It sucks when you pour your heart and soul into a project and it doesn’t work out, but having said that, John Travolta‘s long-gestating biopic of infamous mobster John Gotti seemed like a bit of a dumpster fire from day one.

The film, directed by Entourage star Kevin Connolly with a score composed by Pitbull, was due to be released by Lionsgate last year, but they abruptly pulled it, selling the rights back to the producers and delaying the release until this month.

Gotti tells the story of the three-decade reign of John Gotti as the head of the Gambino crime family in New York, and also stars  John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston as matriarch Victoria (not to be confused with Gotti’s reality star daughter, also Victoria).

After the film’s US premiere this week, the reviews have started pouring in and they are … not great, with the film currently sitting on a far-less-than-ideal 0% on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with a total of 23 reviews counted so far.

So what have the critics been saying? Jeffrey M Anderson of Common Sense Media summed things up by saying:

“Travolta clearly put in great effort to play John Gotti, but he’s stuck in an incomprehensible mess of a movie that was shot like an uncomprehending knock-off of a Martin Scorsese gangster epic.”

Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times seemed to take issue with the film for an overly sentimental portrayal of its central character, saying:

“Closing reportage of everyday New Yorkers brashly extolling Gotti’s virtues upon his death, painting him, without any irony, as some kind of local hero, pretty much tells you where this picture’s coming from.”

Frank Swietek of One Guy’s Opinion wrote:

“Travolta is obviously having grand time playing the stereotypical goombah, and…it’s hard to take your eyes off him. A pity, then, that the movie as a whole is such a shapeless mess.” 

Same with Stephen Whitty of the New York Daily News, who said:

“Admittedly, Travolta, who produced, is sure having fun. What ham wouldn’t? Chewing on the scenery like it was a meatball hero, he swaggers around in shiny suits and silver wigs, barking orders.”

If there’s one upside to all this, it’s given the film critics of the world a chance to try out some of their most sarcastic burns. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone managed to get a twofer in there:

“Starring in this mobster biopic that deserves to get whacked is an offer Travolta should have refused. Insane testimonials from Gotti supporters at the end are as close as this shitshow will ever get to good reviews.”

Johnny Olenski of the New York Post wrote:

“I’d rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch “Gotti” again.”

Do you see what he did there? I’m pretty sure you do.

Believe it or not, this is not actually the first time a John Travolta film has scored a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. The site keeps track of older movies, so 1983’s Staying Alive and 1993’s Look Who’s Talking Now also share that dubious honour.

On Metacritic, which assigns a percentage to each review rather than just treating them as good or bad, Gotti is sitting on a better-but-still-not-amazing 28%. This may be of some comfort to Travolta, but probably not, hey.