Jennifer Lopez HEARTBROKEN|Ben CHEATING AGAIN|Goes CRAZY On A Fan|Losing Control Of Ben|Can’t Pretend Anymore

The latest avalanche of content from Jennifer Lopez has me thinking about Richard Wagner, the German composer who argued in 1849 that the “consummate artwork of the future” would be Gesamtkunstwerk—“total artwork,” combining elements of many forms into one.

This lofty notion, once associated primarily with opera and architecture, is now commonplace. Visual albums, installation art, video games, and TikToks routinely blend the auditory, the visual, the narrative, and the poetic—sometimes spectacularly, quite often unsatisfyingly.

Human beings can be Gesamtkunstwerk too. Or at least, that’s the best way of thinking about what Lopez is up to at age 54.

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The latest avalanche of content from Jennifer Lopez has me thinking about Richard Wagner, the German composer who argued in 1849 that the “consummate artwork of the future” would be Gesamtkunstwerk—“total artwork,” combining elements of many forms into one.

This lofty notion, once associated primarily with opera and architecture, is now commonplace. Visual albums, installation art, video games, and TikToks routinely blend the auditory, the visual, the narrative, and the poetic—sometimes spectacularly, quite often unsatisfyingly.

Human beings can be Gesamtkunstwerk too. Or at least, that’s the best way of thinking about what Lopez is up to at age 54.

Since the ’90s, Lopez has been culturally inescapable not for any single skill, but for gliding between acting, music, fashion, and various ceremonial duties. Now she’s made a multi-hyphenate manifesto of sorts with the Amazon Studios musical film This Is Me … Now: A Love Story.

Mashing up pop videos and dialogue-driven dramedy over 65 minutes, it fuses sci-fi, slapstick, and Hallmark-movie aesthetics—as well as cameos from Jane Fonda, Trevor Noah, and a grab bag of other celebrities.

Along with a new, similarly titled album, the project is clearly meant to be her opus, a self-aware burst of uncategorizable too-muchness. And yet it’s also, hauntingly, not nearly enough to achieve her goals.

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