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Ben Affleck cranks up the cringe with new love video

Not since “Gigli” have Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez produced this level of cringe. And oh, my God, is it amazing. “This seriously melted my heart,” J.Lo wrote in an online post to fans this week. She couldn’t help herself, she said, from sharing “something very special and personal with you that normally I would only share with my inner circle . . . [a] Valentine’s Day present from Ben.” What follows is J.Lo’s music video for her song “On My Way,” intercut — for reasons clear only to the director — with black and white footage of Affleck and Matt Damon shooting 1997’s “Good Will Hunting.” Damon may be Affleck’s forever Valentine. But that’s an aside. We see lots of shots of young Ben smoking, or wrinkling his forehead and smoking, or showing off his dance moves interspersed with clips from Bennifer’s great artistic meta-commentary on romance amid tabloid fame, 2002’s “Jenny from the Block” video. It’s a love letter . . . I guess? Forget Woodward and Newman. Burton and Taylor? Amateurs. No, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have staked their claim on The Greatest Hollywood Love Story of All Time as well as outer-limits narcissism. Consider the refrain to “On My Way”: “And every heartbreak was just a yellow brick road/Pointing me straight, just taking me home/I was never lost/I was just passing through/I was on my way to you.” In other words, every other relationship these two had — including long marriages that produced multiple children — were mere speed bumps, distractions, nuisances, crosses to bear on their way to reclaiming True Love. Oh, my God. This breakup is going to be epic. Ben Affleck is the undisputed performance artist of our time. His cycles of self-sabotage and last-minute career resurrections, all for public consumption, are more riveting and dramatic than any film he’s ever done. The back tattoo, the rehab stints, the gambling, the nanny, the “Finding Your Roots” debacle, the Oscar bait leavened by bombs and Batfleck, the self-inflicted wounds, the cruelty — these are but a few that come to mind. Here he was on Howard Stern in December, shading his long-suffering ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, while campaigning for an Oscar nomination. “I probably still would’ve been drinking” had they stayed married, he said. “Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped. I was like, ‘I can’t leave because of my kids, but I’m not happy. What do I do?’ And what I did was drank a bottle of scotch and fell asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.” Apparently the solution is to play reality show with your old flame. J.Lo wore a wedding dress to her “Marry Me” premiere, escorted by Affleck. She uploaded that private Valentine’s video on her opening weekend. She sat for cover stories with Rolling Stone and People, telling the latter that their rekindled love is “sacred” and “I want to do everything I can to protect that and keep it safe.” This from a couple that loves to claim that media attention originally broke them up — not Affleck’s cheating with strippers in Canada weeks before their wedding in 2003, an epic night that ended back at a rental, his pal Christian Slater getting his back shaved by a topless dancer. see also “Keep this just between us,” Affleck reportedly told stripper Tammy Morris. Instead, Morris told all to the National Enquirer. And Lopez — gifted a Rolls Royce, a diamond ring and a lavish birthday party just a week before by Affleck — called off the wedding. Hey, the path to true love isn’t always smooth, right? Every heartbreak was just a yellow brick road. Watch the video. Be a humanitarian — share it. And hold its memory close when they issue the inevitable joint statement announcing, after much painful consideration, their decision to part ways — requesting, of course, “privacy at this difficult time.”

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