6 out of 10
8 out of 10
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Raquel Castro as Gertie Trinke
Ben Affleck as Ollie Trinke
Jennifer Lopez as Gertrude Steiney
George Carlin as Bart Trinke
Stephen Root as Greenie
Mike Starr as Block
Jason Biggs as Arthur Brickman
Liv Tyler as Maya
Matthew Cloran as Anthony
Will Smith as Himself
Feature Commentary With Writer/Director Kevin Smith And Actor Ben Affleck
Feature Commentary With Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier, And Special Guest Jason Mewes
From MALLRATS to JERSEY GIRL, Kevin Smith And Ben Affleck Talk Shop
Tonight Show's "Roadside Attractions" Featuring Kevin Smith
Text Interviews With Cast And Crew
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language Track
Running Time: 102 Minutes
When Ollie Trinke's wife dies during childbirth, his life in New York City quickly unravels. He loses his job as a music industry publicity agent. He is forced to move in with his father in New Jersey and he must take a job as a street sweeper. The only thing Ollie has left is his father Bart Trinke and his daughter Gertie.
Seven years later, Ollie is still trying to get back into the publicity business, but he is turned away at every doorstep. Still, he is proud of Gertie and he works hard at his blue collar job. He even starts a relationship with Maya, a local video store clerk. Just when it starts looking like he'll settle in New Jersey permanently, he gets another shot at a job in New York. But will he uproot his daughter in order to fulfill his own dreams?
Jersey Girl is rated PG-13 on appeal for language and sexual content including frank dialogue.
Jersey Girl is a film with a split personality. On the one hand, it is a cute film about a father and a daughter. It has sappy moments, cliché moments, and funny moments. On the other hand, it is an adult comedy full of risqué dialogue and profanities that you probably wouldn't want repeated by your kids. For example, in one scene you have all the characters singing a cute musical in a school play. In another scene you have Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler talking frankly about masturbating to porn. One moment you'll have Affleck and Tyler ripping each other's clothes off getting ready to have sex. The next moment you have the daughter catching them and giving them a cute lecture that they should be married. It's this contrast in tone that makes the movie fail. It's too adult to be a cute family film, yet it's too light to be an adult romantic comedy. The final result isn't pleasing to mainstream audiences looking for family entertainment or hardcore Kevin Smith fans.
That being said, though, Jersey Girl does have its moments. As a father myself, I related to what Ollie Trinke went through. I had to learn to diaper a baby (and a girl no less). A few hours before I watched the film, I gave my daughter a lecture on flushing the toilet. That ended up being a running gag throughout the film. It was the moments like these that I most identified with, so I found them the most entertaining. Kevin Smith seems to have a knack for finding humor in everyday situations and he managed to do that in this film thanks to his own parenting experiences.
Ben Affleck is good as Ollie Trinke. He handles the comedy and drama equally well. He also is passable as a dad for Gertie. Jennifer Lopez has a brief cameo as Gertrude Steiney, Ollie's wife. All the gossip and tabloid drama surrounding them could have dragged the movie down, but it didn't. They're onscreen time is brief and Lopez is appropriately beautiful and sweet. Newcomer Raquel Castro is also excellent as Gertie Trinke. She definitely resembles Lopez and she delivers her lines well. She seems to have good chemistry with Affleck and George Carlin who plays her grandfather Bart Trinke. Carlin is surprisingly grandfatherly in the role, but he's a little more subdued here than in some of his other performances. Liv Tyler is also geeky and cute as Maya. While she's not as gorgeous as Jennifer Lopez, it's easy to see why Ollie would be attracted to her. She's intelligent and sweet in the role. Stephen Root and Jason Biggs also have cameos, but they really aren't given that much to do in the way of comedy. However, Jason Lee and Matt Damon have brief cameos that are highlights of the film. There's also a running gag about Will Smith in the movie. When he finally shows up in a cameo role, it's pretty funny.
Jersey Girl features a pretty good soundtrack with classic rock tunes. A couple of the songs from the film help add emotion to some of the scenes (though they occasionally drag on a little too long).
All in all, it's a good try by Kevin Smith to depart from his usual crude comedies, but it's not entirely successful. I think he has it in him to pull off a lighthearted family comedy. Whether or not he tries to after Jersey Girl remains to be seen. I'd recommend this movie to fans of Ben Affleck, but Kevin Smith fans may want to adjust their expectations before going into it. It's not Clerks or Mallrats.
There are a surprising number of extras included on this DVD:
Feature Commentary With Writer/Director Kevin Smith And Actor Ben Affleck – This is a pretty lively commentary by Affleck and Smith. While they offer bits of trivia here and there on the movie, the conversation often digresses to other topics such as critical reaction to the film, tabloid coverage of Affleck and Lopez, and other such topics. Still, it's fun to listen to.
Feature Commentary With Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier, And Special Guest Jason Mewes – This is the second commentary for the film. They add Jason Mewes (who wasn't in the movie) to represent the viewer. He was supposed to ask questions from the audience point of view. While it was a great idea, Mewes doesn't talk all that much. Instead, Silent Bob dominates most of the conversation. He does mention that they first approached Bruce Willis about a cameo role rather than Will Smith. (Willis completely ignored them.) All in all, this is as interesting a commentary as the first one.
From MALLRATS to JERSEY GIRL, Kevin Smith And Ben Affleck Talk Shop – This is a 25 minute conversation between Affleck and Smith. They talk about how they met, how they work, and their various films where they worked together. The conversation is full of all sorts of compliments, mock insults, and jokes. It's actually a pretty fun interview.
Tonight Show's "Roadside Attractions" Featuring Kevin Smith – Though this has little to do with Jersey Girl, it's still a fun bonus extra. It's a feature that Kevin Smith has done for the Tonight Show for a few years now. In it, he travels between various odd roadside attractions and interviews the hosts of them. He visits caves, alligator farms, the original Starbucks, and more. The short films feature Smith's wacky sense of humor and they're a lot of fun to watch. One of them even features a series of interviews on the set of Jersey Girl set.
Behind-The-Scenes Special – This is your typical "making of" video featuring behind the scenes footage, interviews with the cast and crew, and more. Each of the actors is highlighted in this special.
Text Interviews With Cast And Crew – Text interviews are also included on the DVD. They feature everyone from Smith to Matt Damon. While it's a nice addition, I prefer to watch video interviews rather than read text. I think this one is more for hardcore Smith and Affleck fans than casual viewers.
The Bottom Line:
Jersey Girl is a movie best suited for Ben Affleck fans. Families should not pick this up expecting a light family comedy and Kevin Smith fans should not expect the hardcore crude comedy that he's known for.