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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.73%
Worth A Look33.63%
Pretty Bad: 7.08%
Total Crap: 15.93%

10 reviews, 53 user ratings

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Jersey Girl (2004)
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by Chris Parry

"No, like, seriously... Kevin Smith's 'grown up' film is really very good."
4 stars

If there's been a beef with many filmgoers about Kevin Smith's work, it was that he was a far better writer than he ever was a director. It's a fair cop, as Smith himself has often said, but the New Jersey native has always had the safety net of Jay and Silent Bob to fall back on, to the point where it didn't matter if you liked his direction or not - his stuff was funny - period. But just John Hughes went from king of the teenagers to the family guy when he had a kid, so too has Smith dipped a toe in the waters of 'aaw', with a sweet story about a guy and his daughter just tryin' to get by. Sorry kids, it's not Mallrats 2, but it is a really enjoyable, funny film that promises to surprise many who feel Smith isn't capable of the grown up stuff.

Ben Affleck is Ollie, a big swinging dick in the publicity game in New York City. Ollie is the king of PR, controlling who is hot, who is over and how many column inches the newest, greatest, latest name in showbiz is going to be getting next week. And then he meets his soulmate (J-Lo).

Bang - romance, marriage, pregnancy - death?

Suddenly Ollie has a different life. He's no longer the hot guy with the big car and the huge job and the smokin' wife, now he's got a baby to clean. And his wife? She's not able to help much, being as she died during childbirth, leaving Ollie with Gertie, a tiny little bundle of joy.

And poop.

Jersey Girl essentially tracks how Ollie's life becomes forever altered, and how hard it is to come to terms with that when you're a big ass star. And how it's even harder when you're a big ass star no more.

Smith's dialogue is crisp as ever, his comedy likewise, and his direction comes off looking stronger than you're used to. He does have help this time, at least in how the film looks, being as he had award-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters, Deer Hunter) by his side, but it looks as though Smith isn't scared to move the camera anymore, and is perhaps giving a little more rope to those around him, rather than trying to be the man with a stamp on everything.

Affleck, for all the crap he's starred in over the past few years, shows that he's far more than a chin, proving that yes, he can act, and he can even act opposite Jennifer Lopez without turning things into a Gigli-like piece of cinematic hell. J-Lo is fine, and trust me here, if she was anything less, I'd be telling you about it. As much as people may be scared away from this film by associations with Gigli, the differences between the two films are like the difference between a ten-year-old and a two-month-old; one has the world in front of it and may be capable of great things, while the other just sits there and poops a lot.

Old school Smith fans may complain that there aren't any Clerks references or Chasing Amy cast members (well, not many anyway, Matt Damon and Jason Lee do show up in a hilarious cameo scene), but maybe it's time for the black T-shirt brigade to understand that Smith isn't their own private filmmaker, and that he's capable of more than rubber poop monsters and fart jokes.

Liv Tyler appears as Ollie's later-in-life love and is a perfect fit for the role, while George Carlin, as Ollie's father, shows that he's been sadly undercast in Hollywood films for the last few decades. But the star of the show (and I hate saying this usually) is the kid (Raquel Castro). Perfectly cast, this non-precocious rugrat not only looks like J-Lo, but she also steers clear of cute and goes for real, which is a credit to Smith's writing as much as anything else. She carries the film, which isn't too hard because the film carries itself pretty darn well, and helps make this far more than a family film - it's just a great movie on its own terms.

There are structural problems in the finished product; the final act tends to run waaaaaaay long, and maybe a trim of five or ten minutes would have had the film right there in the five star zone, but Jersey Girl marks a solid step up for Smith regardless of the petty shortcomings that folks like me might point out. I expected sugar-coated crap, and I instead got a filmmaker who seems to have come of age with his generation and is now wondering, "what's really possible with this here camera thingy?"

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originally posted: 03/24/04 12:06:06
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/22/18 Suzanne The little girl was darling. 3 stars
4/10/10 art "JERSEY GIRL""WOW the next"GONE WITH THE WIND" 1 stars
1/01/10 Dane Youssef Unremarkable. Undistiguishable. Unnoticable. Nothing special. No effort is really made here 2 stars
3/23/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Wow, George Carlin can act 4 stars
8/02/07 gad nice 4 stars
5/14/07 David Pollastrini All the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
1/24/07 del Better than it has any right to be...certainly better than that piece of shit J&SBSTB. 4 stars
9/29/06 Annie I absolutely loved it!!! 5 stars
8/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn Absolutely love this one, a true "love story" for the little Gertie 5 stars
8/13/05 ES In the content that all women who love their fathers will cry watching this= great movie 4 stars
7/12/05 Jake A disappointing effort from Kevin Smith. 3 stars
6/21/05 Chelsea M A very Good movie 5 stars
4/28/05 Ashley G I think it was a pretty good movie 4 stars
1/19/05 Jeff Anderson KEVIN SMITH'S SWEETEST AND BEST WRITTEN FILM! Liv Tyler and Raquel Castro are outstanding!! 5 stars
12/15/04 Tom Benton Smith's worst film and a major disappointment, but all in all not a crap movie. 3 stars
12/07/04 Jason Kaul Much better than this review lets on. Kevin Smith's best work. Lots of heart. 4 stars
12/04/04 Pat F. Bravo to Smith & Co's 2d poignant/innovative peek into middle class Jerseyans of all ages. 4 stars
11/21/04 HL Nothin' Special - Lightly Entertaining.... 3 stars
11/14/04 Bryan Lee difficult to watch 1 stars
10/03/04 Alycen Entertaining - excellent music soundtrack! 4 stars
9/19/04 Elizabeth SAPPY. Prefer Smith with more cynicism but this was for his Dad. 2 stars
9/17/04 Herb Scannel Love K. Smith like no other, but this just wasn't for me. 3 stars
9/13/04 Phil M. Aficionado With Liv, who needs J-Lo? She did a great job. 4-F: "Fun formula film with feeling" 4 stars
8/30/04 Emmy WHAT!! this movie is funny as Jay and slient j strike back then!! 4 stars
7/24/04 buddy garrett Ben Affleck fails miserably again 2 stars
7/17/04 legend Awful! Only reason to see this film is that J.Lo dies but Ben should go with her for this. 1 stars
6/16/04 Millie Maelstrom Early death of JLo's char. helps but can't save this sentimental schlock promoted as comedy 2 stars
5/13/04 Me Wheres Jay and Silent Bob when you need em? 2 stars
4/19/04 molly horrible 1 stars
4/15/04 Agent Sands Fuck you all in the face. Jersey Girl was really really cool. 5 stars
4/12/04 Mike V This man CAN'T direct! 2 stars
4/12/04 Michael Hatch I am a big fan of Kevin Smith and i think this is his best movie. 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 wasnt amazing but not too bad rent it, never understood the ben Hate 4 stars
4/05/04 Todd Bertuzzi This movie, like Affleck, is a lot better than most people give it credit for. V.Good! 5 stars
4/05/04 Uncle Salty Let me be witty... shit shit shit shit shit 1 stars
4/03/04 Amerigo Vespukey Cute kid? Yup. Next Affleck film: talking dog/baby, or freaky friday-esque body switch.... 1 stars
4/03/04 Death 2 Ben Affleck From Phantoms to Pearl Harbor to Gigli Ben Affleck has ruined one movie after another 1 stars
4/01/04 Charles Bryant A great, grown up feature that, while not perfect, is far smarter than many give it 4 stars
3/31/04 LoudChris Choppy, but heartfelt. Boaring. 2 stars
3/30/04 wampa1 hey kevin, if you have something meaningful stick to chasing amy meaningful, this sucks! 1 stars
3/30/04 empaler one of kevin smiths best 5 stars
3/29/04 AfroFett Average acting in an average movie. eh... 3 stars
3/28/04 Larry The dialogue in this movie was as "crisp" as a wet noodle. IT SUCKS! 1 stars
3/28/04 Marion Verhulst I love the movieM 4 stars
3/27/04 ajay This was like a boring movie with some Kevin Smith-isms rather then a *real* KS movie. 3 stars
3/27/04 Bored to Tears A manipulative suckfest. Looks like an amateur made this crap. 1 stars
3/26/04 Brian meh.... 2 stars
3/25/04 Shelley Shea Affleck gets one more chance. 4 stars
3/25/04 Ben Affleck sucks Now he's being out-acted by a 9 year old. Stop giving this talentless assclown 3 movies/yr 1 stars
3/24/04 Leslie Lato Touches the heart. 5 stars
3/23/04 Carver S. utter crap 1 stars
3/23/04 Brian A wonderful film, plain and simple. 5 stars
3/23/04 Tagaru Lee A movie filled with sweetness and a renewed appreciation of those that you love 5 stars
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  26-Mar-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Apr-2011



Directed by
  Kevin Smith

Written by
  Kevin Smith

  Ben Affleck
  Liv Tyler
  George Carlin
  Jason Biggs
  Stephen Root
  Jennifer Lopez

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