The artists formerly known as "Bennifer" hardly proved to be the second coming of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, but we haven't seen the last of them — at least at movie theaters.
It's questionable whether Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck would have completed Jersey Girl if it had been filmed after their first film, the disastrous Gigli, became a punching bag for critics and punchline for comedians.
Nevertheless, the romantic comedy is scheduled to hit theaters March 19, and representatives for the estranged stars are saying that they'll attend the premiere, despite the embarrassment of their first project.
Ironically, the film features Affleck as the father of a precocious 6-year-old trying to rebuild his life, and Lopez as his first wife. It was filmed in the summer of 2002, when the world began thinking of the omnipresent celebrity couple as a single "Bennifer" entity.
Poster Girl for a Breakup?
Jersey Girl might be a little more promising than Gilgli. On the up side, Affleck is reunited with director and producer Kevin Smith, who worked with him on Good Will Hunting, Dogma and Chasing Amy.
But will the failure of Gigli prove insurmountable?
Already, Lopez is conspicuously absent from movie posters, leading some to believe that Miramax Films was hesitant of the erstwhile Bennifer combo as a big screen draw.
To be sure, Gigli will go down in Hollywood history as a legendary bomb, rivaling such Hollywood turkeys as Ishtar, Heaven's Gate, Shanghai Surprise and Howard the Duck.
In this ill-fated romantic comedy, Affleck and Lopez played rival gangsters who team up to kidnap a prosecutor's mentally challenged younger brother to save a mob boss from prosecution.
Sure, a lot of popular films have farfetched plots, but critics immediately insisted that Gigli was far worse than run-of the-mill Hollywood dreck.
Worst of all, the film was a financial disaster, grossing less than $6 million in the United States. Affleck alone was paid $12.5 million, and even his other less-than-aclaimed efforts, Paycheck, Daredevil and Changing Lanes, scored between $50 and $100 million.
Lopez has topped the box office with Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner, and even her underwhelming turn as a battered wife in Enough brought in $39 million.
As we wait for Jersey Girl, here's a look back at what critics had to say last August about Ben and Jennifer's big screen debut
The ‘Deadening Juices’ of Celebrity
"Gigli is hard to pronounce, and harder to fathom."
— Claudia Puig, USA Today
"Gigli rhymes with 'really' … as in really, really silly … the kindest way to describe this hopelessly misconceived exercise in celebrity self-worship."
— A.O. Scott, New York Times
"The worst movie … of our admittedly young century. More stupefying follies may come, but it's impossible to imagine how they'll beat this one for staggering idiocy, fatuousness or pretension."
— Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"This is not just ordinary bad in a Bad Boys II sort of way, but a hypnotic, black hole of a movie that sucks reputations, careers and goodwill down its vortex."
— Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail of Toronto
"Embalmed in the deadening juices of Affleck and Lopez's throwaway celebrity."
— Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide
"Even … trying to pinpoint the exact moment when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez fell in love, stops being fun after a while."
— Christy Lemire, Associated Press
"We're talking about a disaster, and not of the fun Showgirls variety, either."
— Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A dull disaster." — Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"From the moment Affleck declares that in every relationship 'there's a bull and a cow,' [he and Lopez] make hideous chin music together."
— Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
"In this relationship, there is also a turkey."
— Jami Bernard, New York Daily News
"It's Chasing Amy with guns."
— Desson Howe, The Washington Post
"So god-awfully, soul-destroyingly bad it manages to offend lesbians, the mentally challenged and straight people in a single bound, not to mention the entire acting profession."
— Eye Weekly
"Like Madonna in … The Next Best Thing, [Lopez] gets to show off her yoga moves and toned muscles … but even her remarkable sex appeal isn't enough to distract you from the idiocies coming out of her mouth."
— Jonathan Foreman, New York Post
"It's not as bad as Madonna's last movie — or any of Madonna's movies, for that matter." — Joel Siegel, Good Morning America