Jersey Gurgle

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She's barely in it, and in the marketing materials you certainly can't notice. You have to look real hard.

I will say that, like, 22 seconds into the movie I forgot about "Ben and Jen."

I think the highest compliment you can pay is that 22 seconds into the movie you forgot about that. It's been a tough year, honestly, trying to get beyond the fucking backstory that isn't even ours. Most of it has to do with Gigli. First you have to get over that hump of being like, "Oh, they were so terrible in Gigli." And you're like, "Did you see it?" They're like, "No, but I heard." So you're dealing with the Phantom Menace of a movie--if I may bust a Star Wars reference--I had nothing to do with. Then you have to get over their personal life--they didn't get married; they dated and split up and crap like that--before you can bait and switch folks into getting into the theater.

It's weird, because when Jennifer dies, it's the first death on film of someone who's not a villain that people cheer for.

I've been there, dude. I've been at screenings where there have been pockets of "Whoo!" And then other people are like, "Awww," and then all of a sudden they're both out of the movie, and they're fighting, shirts and skins in the audience.

I will say this: I wish there had been more scourging.

I could have done with some, just a bit more. Because now you've got a taste of it. After Mel Gibson gave you two hours, you've got a taste for scourging.

If you'd scourged Ben, I think you woulda...

I think our leading man has been crucified enough this year. You know? There's a sound bite. We are missing out on a little Christ-bashing in the picture.

Well, you've already been there with Dogma.

I have, but I didn't think to beat the shit out of Jesus. That was weird. I was always taught to love Jesus, so it's kind of a weird concept for me, 'cause you just see him out there, Mel... Mel, like I know him. Mr. Gibson...

Well, he was supposed to be in Chasing Amy, wasn't he?

Totally. We wanted to use him, but we had to settle for Affleck. But you see him out there talking about how much he loves God and loves the Holy Spirit and whatnot, and his picture's all about beating the hell outta Jesus. I mean, if I loved him, and I do, I love Jesus, I would make a movie where it's him happy, someone gives him a puppy, people treat him nice and shit like that. That's the Jesus movie you really want to see. Apparently not. Apparently, America wants to see him getting beat up. Don't get it.

I was in Dallas the day The Passion of the Christ opened. We were near Plano, where the dude bought out the multiplex. Right then and there I was like, "This is going to be massive." Who knew? A year ago, if somebody had said, "Hey, there's going to be this movie about Jesus where they beat the shit out of him for two hours, and it's going to make 200 million bucks in 18 days," you'd be like, "You're out of your mind." And they're like, "Wait, wait, wait--it's also voiced in Aramaic and street Latin!" You'd be like, "What is this, a joke? Are there two nuns and a lesbian? Somebody have a duck on their head?" And then it turns out to be manifest: It's true that it's massive, so who knew? Based on that alone, Jersey Girl could make 400 million. Because if somebody had told you a year ago that there's going to be a Ben and Jen movie that is actually going to do business and people might like it, you'd hear the same.

If you told me she died a few minutes into it, I would have told you, well, maybe you got something. You've totally got a hook for that.

The Variety review came out today. Not kind. Everyone got good marks, except me for making it. That's the problem with this movie. And it makes sense. I'm getting judged against my filmography, which...Whatever, I'll take it. It's bound to happen.

Why?

Because I have no business making a sentimental film. I should be making edgier stuff. I should be making movies where guys fall in love with lesbians, there are rubber poop monsters, convenience-store workers sit around and curse a lot and don't do anything. That's what I'm supposed to do, so if I make a movie that's sentimental, wears its heart on its sleeve, then I'm obviously whoring myself out to the mainstream. Which is so untrue, but it's bound to happen. I'm going to get reviews like that.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky