here are a number of lame excuses I could offer in my defense, but the heart of the matter, the truth behind my positive--and, in hindsight, supremely misguided--review of Ang Lee's The Hulk comes down to this: I was a dumbass.

This, to be sure, will come as no surprise to those readers who fired off e-mails to me calling me just that--a dumbass--once they took a gander at the film for themselves. These kind souls will undoubtedly revel in that state of grace known as "I told you so." And they should revel--they were right, I was wrong. And not only was I wrong, but I was wrong in print. For almost 1,000 words. Ouch.

So what happened? How did such a lapse of judgment occur? Again, I have no excuse. It is one of the perils of film reviewing; sometimes we recommend something we shouldn't. The New Yorker's Anthony Lane gushed about Titanic. Roger Ebert loved Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. A. O. Scott, in the New York Times, had nothing but kind words for that abomination Johnny English. And no one will ever forget when Sean Nelson, my predecessor as film editor at this very fish-wrapper, penned an ecstatic review for Steven Spielberg's A.I. (That review that still haunts this paper, and we're still apologizing for it--see page 17.)

The Hulk is my A.I. It is my Phantom Menace. I regret the error.