Bennifer Together Again (Briefly) in Jersey Girl; Hanks Kills in Coen Brothers Comedy

Now in theaters: Jersey Girl and The Ladykillers.

Jersey Girl Ben and J.Lo are back together again in Jersey Girl, but not for long. Twelve minutes into the film, she goes to that great cutting room in the sky. Her character dies in childbirth, leaving him the single parent of a baby girl.

Affleck's character is a wildly successful music publicist, but it never occurs to him to hire a nanny, a nurse or a baby sitter. He's forced to take his week-old daughter to a press conference, and, in an attempt to diaper her, pours half a can of talcum powder on the poor girl's tush.

Do you believe any of this? I couldn't. When smart people do stupid things just to make a movie work, we resent it.

Affleck loses his job, leaves his Fifth Avenue apartment and moves in with his father, George Carlin, a New Jersey sanitation worker.

No, Affleck can't act. That didn't surprise me. I've seen all his films. But writer/director Kevin Smith did surprise me. I've seen all his films, too, and this is the first one I didn't like. I saw it twice just to make sure. I was right the first time. It's terrible.

References to porno rentals and sexual practices that, trust me, you do not want your young children to ask you about, mean Jersey Girl fails as a family movie, in spite of Raquel Castro, the film's very cute co-star. Grade: F

The Ladykillers

I laughed so hard at The Ladykillers, a brilliant Coen brothers remake of the Alec Guinness classic. I got the feeling Tom Hanks hasn't had this much fun at the movies since he was a teenager and got lucky in the balcony of the Oakland Fox.

Hanks plays a slippery Southern professor, all fluttery eyes and flowery speech, who rents a room in an old Mississippi house on an old Mississippi street to tunnel into the money room of an old Mississippi gambling ship.

Based on the 1955 film (they borrowed the caper and the shape), Hanks puts together a gang of idiots, brilliantly cast. Irma P. Hall plays the lady of the house and is spectacular. When she sees too much, there's only one solution, which is why they called the film The Ladykillers. Except … they can't do it.

Get ready to duck — the laughs come from every place. Even the cat is funny. Grade: A-

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