It's been more than eight years since Roger Ebert dismissed Rob Schneider's Deuce Bigalow sequel with a simple review kicker -- "Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks" -- and the comedian is still wincing.
The line, which became the title of Ebert's book of reviews, has become an infamous bit of criticism. In a new letter to Ebert's widow, Chaz, that was published on her blog, Schneider reflected on being a punchline and replied to a few of her questions about the backstory of a review feud that made headlines.
"As Roger once said, 'Nobody starts out to make a bad movie!' But it happens," Schneider wrote. "I think every movie is difficult to make but a sequel even more so. The movie I made just ended up being a series of jokes that really didn't hold up as a story or a movie frankly and I have to live with that."
He also added: "I think it made me reassess what pictures I really wanted to make and how I got to make a movie in the first place that even I wasn't happy with."
Schneider also disagreed with tellings about the backstory. The feud began when The Los Angeles Times' Patrick Goldstein wrote a story in January 2005 -- the Bigalow sequel was released months later, in August -- that included a sharp critique of the comedy.
Schneider, incensed, wrote a paid retort to Goldstein that set off a firestorm. In the new letter to Chaz, the comedian recalled that the Times writer hadn't even seen the movie. "He trashed it before it was ever released and NOT in the entertainment section but on the Front page of the Times ABOVE THE FOLD," the comedian recalled.
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, which sits at a very rotten 9 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, wound up grossing $22 million upon release, according to Box Office Mojo figures.
Schneider, among other reflections in his letter to Chaz, wrote that he appreciated the critic's candor: "Even when he hated a picture, as was the case with mine, there was still a joy in dissecting it's faults. However, what separated Roger Ebert from so many in the cottage industry that followed in his wake, was Roger never rooted for a film to fail."