Being a family man isn't easy, even for Michael Jackson.
I am told that his longtime family-law attorney, Lance Spiegel, has petitioned the court in Los Angeles to step down as Jackson's representative in his ongoing custody battle with ex-wife Debbie Rowe.
According to my sources, Spiegel is fed up with Jackson's reluctance to cooperate in the private case Rowe brought so that she could see her two kids with Jackson, Prince and Paris.
Rowe has not seen the boy and girl since before Jackson's scandal broke in the news last November. She has also not been able to speak with Jackson, who hasn't returned her calls.
All of this comes as rumors swirl — thanks to the National Enquirer, Entertainment Weekly, and Us Magazine — that a Florida woman is carrying Jackson's next litter, a set of quadruplets.
In fact, Jackson has had some kind of lady-friend named Sylvia, who lives in Palm Beach and has visited him frequently. She is described as Caucasian, with dark hair and blue eyes.
Jackson, who is currently traveling from Miami to Los Angeles on a customized bus with his family and entourage, denied through his spokeswoman yesterday that any children are on the way. His brother Randy, whom I spoke with briefly, said of the impending births, "It's bull—."
Interestingly, though the tabloids and TV show reported the quad story, not one of Jackson's attorneys or insiders knew a thing about it when the rumor began circulating on Tuesday. For Jackson to have entered into any kind of surrogate agreement with any woman, he would have required some kind of legal assistance.
There's good news and bad news about Spike Lee's new movie, "She Hate Me."
The good news is that young actor Anthony Mackie makes an impressive debut holding together a two-and-a- half-hour production. With the right moves, Mackie should develop quickly as a major player of his generation.
But that's all the good news there is in this dreadful, colossal mess of a movie that has too many themes, ideas and plots, and not one bit of coherence to hold it together.
Somehow, and I'm still not sure how, Spike has mashed together the ImClone scandal, the Watergate break-in, lipstick lesbians and the Mafia into one big indecipherable heap.
Sometimes "She Hate Me" is funny, other times it's crude. Often it's just coarse. What was Spike thinking when he helped cook up the story of a young fired exec who makes ends meet by impregnating lesbians? Yikes!
If only some part of that made sense, or any part of Jack Armstrong's (Mackie's) business story about pharmaceutical company execs who make insider trades when they discover their big cancer drug won't be approved by the FDA.
Woody Harrelson is awful, and Ellen Barkin does the best she can, as Jack's bosses, but the whole thing reeks of a story pulled from news clips and not from any reality.
How the rest of that laundry list of themes fits in is almost too bizarre to repeat, but too late in the movie Jack impregnates a Mafia princess (Monica Bellucci) whose Don Corleone-imitating father (John Turturro) sends thugs after Jack to break his legs.
One of the thugs sports, very prominently, a Sean John sweatshirt, the logo seen in close-up. Sean John is Sean Combs/P. Diddy's clothing line, of course, and the scene seems to be some kind of negative comment on the rap and fashion impresario.
Spike Lee has made some really great films like "Clockers," "Jungle Fever," "Do the Right Thing," "Malcolm X," "4 Little Girls," "Get on the Bus," "She's Gotta Have It," "He Got Game," "Crooklyn" and "25th Hour."
But he's also made clunkers like "Girl 6," "Mo' Better Blues," "School Daze," "Summer of Sam" and "Bamboozled."
"She Hate Me" is the worst of all, a self-absorbed, indulgent, unedited and unending piece of glop.
How many endings can a movie have? "She Hate Me" has them all, so many in fact that you feel like you're already watching the sequel and the sequel's sequel. There are redundancies galore, points hammered home so hard they're gonna feel 'em in China, and enough misogyny to last a lifetime.
Kerry Washington, adorable in the indie film "Lift," is so misused here that she should stage a protest. Ossie Davis, Lonette McKee, Jim Brown and Q-Tip all float through here, but so too does Brian Dennehy playing the part of the kitchen sink — as in, everything and the kitchen sink, too.
R&B legend Ruth Brown has turned out to be such a hit at Au Bar, the 76-year-old dynamo has been asked to stay an extra week. Her show now goes through August 1, and if you miss it, you'll have only yourself to blame....
Meantime, my pal Bob Davis is putting the finishing touches on the 2004 Soul Patrol Convention down in Willingboro, N.J. This amazing festival of great music takes place on July 30 and 31, with an incredible array of stars in attendance, including Billy Paul, the Chi-Lites, Buddy Miles, Barbara Mason, Howard Tate, Freddie Scott, Sarah Dash and Sirius Radio's Ken "Spider" Webb. Check out their Web site at www.soul-patrol.com!