I want to like Ben Affleck. Really, I do.
But there’s something that causes me to consider him to be a less than stellar movie-star. Could it be the fact that he really can’t act? Or that deep down I know he has veneers over his now-filed down old stubby teeth? Or that every time he cries on screen I get the feeling that minutes before someone sprayed his eyes with vinegar?
Considering all those things, you probably don’t want to ask me why in the world I ended up at a screening of Jersey Girl last night. That would just get too complicated in explaining the ins and outs of being forced to see a movie for the greater good. But you probably would want to ask me, exactly what it was about the movie that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Oh, good. That’s a really smart question.
Jersey Girl is nothing special. You’ve seen it all before. Boy meets girl. Boy is a challenge for the girl. Girl changes boy and they fall in love. Girl gets pregnant. Girl dies in child birth. Boy doesn’t want to step up and take care of child. Boy must do so. Boy has to do so or the story will fail. Boy steps up. Boy raises girl. Boy falls in love with daughter (platonically, of course). Boy falls in love with another girl (non-platonic like). Boy falls in love with father (patriarchally). Boy’s father falls in love with boy’s daughter (grampa-onically). Boy’s father’s friends (referred to as Uncles although not Uncles) fall in love with boy’s daughter through boy’s grampa (questionably platonic). And all ends with a big musical number from the musical about killing people and putting them in pies…Sweeney Todd.
As you can see, a typical by-the-numbers romantic/not-so romantic comedy drama thingie.
Ben Affleck, seriously, can’t act. He’s good in those Bruckheimer fast-cut movies where he screams his lines while he’s trying to save the world. But these slow, non-jokey movies are not his bag. I say “non-jokey” because he wasn’t half bad in Kevin Smith’s other movies (that didn’t include emotion) and he, of course, was a fluke in Good Will Hunting. (But I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors that they used an Affleck-robot in that movie.)
Liv Tyler is too sugary sweet in this one. George Carlin is just George Carlin without any funny lines (read: old). The girl who plays Affleck’s daughter is cute, but too cute. The cameos with Jason Lee and Matt Damon and Will Smith were ok, but forced.
I will give Ben one thing – he has an emotional crying scene in this one that actually looks real. It actually looks like he’s really crying, connecting with the emotions of his character. There’s real tears there and I only wonder what he was really thinking about in order to get those tears to come out.
Deep down, I wonder if he somehow knew that Gigli was going to stink, and that if he didn’t make this one good his career was over?
That, my friends, is why Affleck cries.
In other news, Joe cries. Joe cries when he lies. Can you spot the movie reference?