If Jennifer Lopez Is Going to Marry a Costar, Does It Have to Be Ben Affleck?

With his upcoming Nike movie, he’s got Portland cred, but let’s just imagine some of the alternatives: Jesus, Voldemort, George Clooney…

By Margaret Seiler July 19, 2022

A grid of six photos showing Ben Affleck kissing Jennifer Lopez in one, Ralph Fiennes, Shakira, Rodrigo Santoro, Owen Wilson, and George Clooney

Jennifer Lopez (top left, with new husband Ben Affleck) has had memorable onscreen pairings with Ralph Fiennes, Shakira, Rodrigo Santoro, Owen Wilson, and George Clooney, but Affleck, her costar in 2003 box-office bomb Gigli, is the one she married in real life.

Nearly two decades after they broke off their first engagement, actors and tabloid regulars Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck reported a midnight wedding in Las Vegas this past weekend. As Portlanders, maybe we should be pleased about Jenny from the Block settling down with Affleck, the most Rose City–adjacent of her onscreen and offscreen beaus thanks to his latest project, a film about Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan as its marquee athlete. Affleck cowrote the script with Good Will Hunting partner Matt Damon, and he also directs and costars as Phil Knight, while Damon plays another Nike exec. Since Portland still has no Major League Baseball team, it’s hard to imagine her former fiancé Alex Rodriguez having such a Portlandy professional project. (He’s just not right for the other half of a Dillon T. Pickle buddy movie, anyway.)

But J-Lo, a pop megastar and rom-com vet, has fallen in love onscreen so many times that it’s hard not to be a little disappointed that the pairing we get to see pan out in real life is her costar from 2003’s Gigli, roundly considered to be one of the worst movies of all time. There are so many other choices, from nice-guy-with-just-the-right-amount-of-stubble she meets-cute when they both jump in the same cab on a rainy day (Alex O’Loughlin in The Back-up Plan) to nice-guy-with-just-the-right-amount-of-stubble she locks eyes with while he jogs on the beach (Monster-in-Law’s Michael Vartan, who, incidentally, started dating his Alias costar Jennifer Garner around the same time Affleck and Lopez were supposed to get married in 2003—after they broke up, Garner married Affleck).

Congrats to the happy couple, really. But as movie viewers, let us just say this is not the sequel we would have chosen. Here are some of Lopez’s silver-screen partners and paramours we’d rather see get a second chance.

The Outlaw (and the Better Batman): George Clooney in Out of Sight

Steven Soderbergh could have filled a whole movie with just Clooney’s bank robber/jailbreak artist and Lopez’s US Marshal lying against each other in a car trunk talking about the actor Peter Finch, so we know there’s plenty of sequel potential to this 1998 crime romance. Sure, she arrests him later, but we all know he’ll break out of jail soon enough. Does he ever go square so they can be together out in the open? Or is he still on the lam, and they have to send each other coded messages to arrange meet-ups in Midwest hotel bars? We want to know! Also, between Clooney and the film's Michael Keaton cameo, Out of Sight has Jennifer Lopez acting alongside not one but two Batmans, each of whom critics agree did a much better job with the role than her new husband.

The Republican: Ralph Fiennes in Maid in Manhattan

Wayne Wang’s Cinderella story features a traditional Jennifer Lopez film character: the super-responsible hard worker with a dream. She’s mistaken for a well-heeled guest at a schmancy hotel instead of part of its cleaning staff by a dashing Senate candidate played by Ralph Fiennes, who in 2002 was still in that dreamy period between being best known for playing a Nazi and best known for playing Voldemort. The GOP candidate bonds with Lopez's son over a shared respect for Richard Nixon, whose legacy becomes a bit of a plot point. With a supporting cast that includes Stanley Tucci, Maddie Corman, Amy Sedaris, Bob Hoskins, and Natasha Richardson (RIP to those last two), the movie makes no sense, but does make an excellent double feature with Dick. If there were sequels, we wonder if Fiennes would stick with the Alex P. Keaton routine or might switch parties when his wife unionizes the hotel staff.

Jesus Christ: Jim Caviezel in Angel Eyes or Rodrigo Santoro in What to Expect When You’re Expecting

To be honest, we don’t really care about these guys’ characters in their J-Lo movies, which we may or may not have actually seen: Caviezel’s haunted widower and Santoro’s nervous dad-to-be are, you know, fine, probably. We are simply registering that, among the many people who have played Jesus Christ on the silver screen, they are two of the nicest to look at. Why shouldn’t J-Lo get to have a smoking-hot Son of God? She’s been through a lot. Would things play out like WandaVision or Bewitched? What happens when her father-in-law comes to visit? Could they be swingers and let Laura Linney in on the action, for that hook-up with Santoro her character missed out on in Love Actually?

The Equal: Shakira

Now, we know the Super Bowl Halftime Show is not a narrative film, but let us still imagine a happily ever after for the two most impressive athletes on the field on that February Sunday in 2020, just before the world shut down. (Sorry, MVP Patrick Mahomes, but you know we’re right.) Or we can just relive that day over and over—it was Groundhog Day, after all. Conveniently, the Brazilian singer is recently single, having split from her Barcelona soccer star partner Gerard Piqué earlier this year; had the two megaplatinum recording artists actually gotten together, it would have been a nice reversal of Gigli’s love trajectory, in which J-Lo follows up a relationship with a woman by falling for Affleck.

The Regular Guy: Owen Wilson in Marry Me

Twenty-five years after her character watched him be crushed and eaten by the big snake in Anaconda, Jennifer Lopez plays a pop megastar who falls for normal-guy Owen Wilson in this Peacock Premium subscription bait/112-minute Vitamix commercial. Along the way, she bonds with Wilson’s mathlete daughter and picks up some of the real-life skills elite celebrities just don’t have unless they fall in love with a commoner, like how to put the lid on a blender. The audience might wonder things like “Can a teacher really afford that apartment?” and “Who’s taking care of the dog?” and “Would a rival academic team coach really be that mean?” but we never wonder what she sees in humble Wilson, who gives off the same golly-gosh vibes as dear vegan Freya from The Great British Baking Show. He’s just happy to be here and wants to make the world a better place and not embarrass his daughter, OK? Or maybe seeing him just got us excited for the next season of Loki.

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