Despite diva death, Dogma director disappoints

By Chris Tait

I can predict the future, I see the things that are to come. Be warned, for the future is a barren land full of misery and doubt. Here is the first sign, marked by the collective sigh of millions of nerds and movie obscurists across North America. It will resonate this Friday and evil will plague the earth in the form of…

But why spoil the best part of the movie so early in the review?

From the same man who brought us the greatest pot-smoking duo since Cheech and Chong comes a new romantic comedy. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, by "romantic comedy," I don’t mean it in the bizarre, cult, teenage blunder, Mallrats sense, nor in the deviant antics of Chasing Amy or Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but in the Freddy Prinze Jr., malevolently Meg Ryan sense. (If this doesn’t put it into perspective, see the first paragraph.)

Director Kevin Smith spawns Jersey Girl, with Ben Affleck starring as a big-time celebrity PR suit raking in the dough and living the high life. He marries Jennifer Lopez and they eventually pop out a kid. Lopez, despite her perfectly coiffed hair and heavily-insured posterior, doesn’t survive the ordeal. This sends Affleck into a downward spiral; bringing up a kid on his own, losing his job and his lifestyle and moving back in with his father.

The appearance of this film on Smith’s resume brings forward a disturbing question: "has the great motherfuckin’ cult classic director goneƂ- pussy?"

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

The best and worst part of the movie orbit around the same person, Lopez, who rarely comes forward with a screenworthy performance, with the debatable exception of The Cell, where she has an aneurism in the first 15 minutes.

I have to admit, other than a minor casting blemish, and all expectations aside, it was a kind of funny movie. Liv Tyler’s offer to give Affleck a "mercy jump," Affleck and his daughter (Raquel Castro) performing bloody musical numbers in front of an elementary school–these are moments of redemption for Smith. He hasn’t quite lost it after all.

Okay, okay. So, I guess it wasn’t that bad. But being a single guy and seeing a chick flick by yourself is bound to be accompanied by a little insecurity. My advice to all: don’t go see it expecting blunt-rolling or the word "snootches." Don’t even go to it with expectations. Seriously, you’re bound to get hurt.

I’m going to go cry now.

The Ugly Man runs Wed., Mar. 31 through Thu., Apr. 10 at the Pumphouse Theatres. For ticket information, call 283-7725

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