Double Feature

November 2006 - With Thanksgiving and other holidays just weeks away, you may find yourself with some down time. So, if you sit down to watch a movie, make sure it's a good one – and not one of these, which both happen to start Ben Affleck.

We'll start with 2004's Jersey Girl. Jennifer Lopez, Affleck's fiancée at the time, shows up for about the first ten minutes. Then, she dies. Probably because she realizes that the rest of the movie is going to suck.

Affleck plays Ollie Trinkie, a Jersey guy who's made it big as a PR guy in New York City. He meets Gertrude (JLo), they get married, they get pregnant and then she dies while giving birth. Ollie is unprepared to be a widower, a new dad and a PR whiz all at once. So, back to Jersey he goes. Next thing we know, Little Gertie is seven years old and playing "I'll show you mine..." with a boy classmate.

Liv Tyler is Maya, a grad student who works at the local video store. She catches Ollie renting porn and decides to use him as a subject for her research. Next thing we know, Maya is hanging out at the house, helping little Gertie prepare a scene from Sweeny Todd. Yeah, I know.

Overall review: Hated it. The movie spends too much time focusing on Ollie and his daughter. I was also troubled by Ollie and Maya. We're led to believe that the meeting in the video store is their first. But later, Ollie admits that he's rented porn several times a week since his wife died. All that porn and he's just NOW meeting Maya? Not likely.

Also unlikely are all the problems that Affleck encounters in Forces of Nature. It's a 1999 romantic comedy which also stars Sandra Bullock and ER's Maura Tierney.

Affleck plays Ben. Yeah, I know. He's scheduled to fly to Savannah to marry Bridget (Tierney) but "natural forces" put the trip – and his wedding – in jeopardy.

On the plane, Ben meets a free-spirit named Sarah (Bullock). She's also headed for Savannah. After their plane skids off the runway during takeoff (due to a "natural force"), the two become travel companions. The movie turns into "Trains, Buses and Automobiles" as they make their way to Georgia. They finally arrive in Savannah as a hurricane (another "natural force") threatens to blow away the wedding. Ben must make a choice: marry Bridget or live life on the edge with Sarah.

Overall review: Hated it. At one point, Bridget, who's already in Savannah, wonders out loud how a two-day trip from New York can take so long. I wondered the same thing. By the end, I didn't care who Ben ended up with. I just wanted him to get there already.

Both Jersey Girl and Forces of Nature are rated PG-13. Look for them at your local video store or on TV. Just don't look too hard.