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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 EricDSnider

"'Clerks' was a long time ago...."
3 stars

Kevin Smith is listed as writer and director on "Jersey Girl," but surely it can't be THE Kevin Smith. Not the un-Hollywood maverick Kevin Smith who gave us the rambling anarchy of "Clerks," or the subversive parody of "Dogma," or the dead-on Hollywood mockery of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." This must be some OTHER Kevin Smith, a Kevin Smith who graduated from ABC family sitcoms to a feature film about a single dad raising his supernaturally cute daughter while living with his crusty, tell-it-like-it-is father.

Ah, but it is the same guy. And that's sad. "Jersey Girl" is so by-the-numbers, so depressingly average, that I'm tempted to believe Smith is PARODYING by-the-numbers, depressingly average films. Alas, that is mere wishful thinking on my part, as there is nothing within the film to suggest Smith is anything other than sincere about this piddling story and its piddling characters.

Affleck plays Ollie Trinke, a Manhattan music-industry public relations flak; J-LO plays Gertie, his wife. Fortunately for moviegoers, she dies, but not before delivering a child, also named Gertie.

Ollie's pretty much a self-important butthole who throws himself into his work to avoid grieving, and he pawns baby Gertie off on his dad (George Carlin), an alcoholic street-sweeper in New Jersey, to care for while he's shmoozing for a living. Ollie cracks eventually, though, leading to a public meltdown and the loss of his job. Now a broken man, he moves back in with his father on a semi-permanent basis.

Skip ahead seven years. Ollie is working alongside his old man and maintaining a reasonably happy existence, though he still wishes he could get back into the P.R. biz. Gertie (Raquel Castro), now 7 years old and ferociously cute, is the light of his life because she reminds him of dead J-Lo, and she's perfectly content to stay in the suburbs, away from the big city.

Then Ollie meets a woman, Maya (Liv Tyler), who works at the video store and who is fascinated by the porn-renting habits of a single father. They become friends and maybe more, but Ollie can't adjust to the idea of being with another woman after the death of his soulmate, even though that was seven years ago.

So there's that After-School Special topic to deal with, plus another, more outrageous one: Ollie finally gets an interview with a big P.R. firm, but guess what? It's the same day as Gertie's school talent show! Following the standard formula to the letter, Ollie finally realizes what's truly important in his life after he has a pivotal conversation with a stranger. Everything works out nicely, and there are hugs all around.

There is a smattering of funny dialogue; most of the characters speak in that hip, literary style Smith is known for. Unfortunately, what they're actually SAYING tends toward the banal. Still, there is much glee in hearing Ben Affleck tell J-Lo that the reason the women look so good at the MTV Video Music Awards is that they're all "coked-out whores," reassuring her that she, too, can be one if she so chooses.

George Carlin is an acerbically welcome presence, and Affleck generally does his best work in Smith films. Stephen Root and Mike Starr help out as Carlin's drinking buddies and surrogate uncles to Gertie -- and little Raquel Castro, Gertie herself, is so excrementally cute I wanted to pound my head through a brick wall. But in a good way.

I don't grade on the curve, so "Jersey Girl" isn't being docked any points simply because it fails to live up to what Kevin Smith is capable of. If anyone else had made it, I would dismiss it as a mildly diverting, occasionally humorous fluff film and forget I ever saw it. But as a fan of Smith's, I'm concerned that this movie signifies the start of a new, mediocre direction for him.

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originally posted: 08/09/05 17:26:50
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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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