A mere sidelight in the Ben-and-Jen media blitz. It documents the moment in history when America's Sexiest Man got together with Super Buns, and the way the media carried on beforehand, you'd have thought the moment was bigger than when Dick met Liz. (Document: Cleopatra.) The critical backlash, perhaps a tad overboard for a film that does evince an ambition or two, was inevitable and predictable: we can't get enough of them, till we get too much. From that perspective, the film's unpardonable sin is not that it fully rises to the surrounding silliness, but that it does not so rise. In mitigation, it should be remembered that the two stars did not set out to make this film as a couple, let alone as a sop to the jillions of fans who regrettably could not be invited to the wedding. All of which is not to say that the film isn't silly: an "edgy," "gender-bending" romantic comedy about a macho mobster and a lesbian contract killer, softies at heart, assigned to keep an eye on each other as they keep their other two eyes on the kidnapped kid brother of a gangbusting federal prosecutor -- and as a mental defective, the kid brother (newcomer Justin Bartha) needs a lot of looking-after. Affleck, in self-mocking high spirits ("I am the fuckin' Sultan of Slick"), can be given credit for at least trying to impress, albeit failing: "lowering" himself to somewhere around the stature of, say, Edward Burns. Lopez, by contrast, with her pastel makeup and pixie-dusted hair, suitable for the cover of Modern Bride, acts disinclined to go anywhere near her role, either the lesbian half or the killer half. Some of her dirty-talk might serve to reinforce those viewers who want to pronounce the title "giggly," no matter how many times they're told it rhymes with "really." She's too much a hardbody to reinforce any who lean toward "jiggly." With Christopher Walken and Al Pacino; written and directed by Martin Brest. (2003) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated R

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