Running Time: 102 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, George Carlin, Raquel Castro, Jason Biggs
Directed By: Kevin Smith
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
A newly single dad moves in with his elderly father to help raise his daughter.
I am not sure why everyone is so down on this film. Critics, Kevin Smith fans, even Kevin Smith himself bash this film on a regular basis. I am not sure if it has to do with seeing Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez on screen together again (see Gigli) or because it is not your traditional Kevin Smith film with crass humor. Whatever the reason I think everyone is wrong in regards to this movie. Will it blow you away? No, it certainly won’t but if you are looking for a sweet romantic comedy with some decent moments than this movie should work for you. Jersey Girl is the story of Ollie Trinke. He suffers through an unexpected tragedy and mental collapse at work. He must take his infant daughter back to his home state of New Jersey to live with his dad to get his life back in order.
So this film is all about your mindset going in. If you are expecting the usual comments like “Snoochie Boochies” and familiar characters that have made Smith a cult icon then of course you will be disappointed. If you go in looking for a light romantic comedy then you will come out pleasantly pleased. Jersey Girl starts off and we are introduced to Ollie Trinke and his high profile job as a celebrity publicist. He is young, rich, and successful. His world is about to come crashing down around him with a new baby and him being a single dad. It is in this struggle between a demanding job and love for his daughter that this movie will win over the viewer. Ollie moves into his childhood home with his dad and the three generational trio is a fun watch. Are they laughing out loud funny? Not for the most part of the film but their relationship is one that is warm and easy to get into. Ollie’s affection for his daughter seems genuine and you want them to always be happy.
Ollie Trinke is played by the Kevin Smith regular Ben Affleck. He is good in the role as a publicist and amateur father but he is misses the mark on some of his delivery. A scene where he cries about hurting his daughter is laughable instead of being touching. It doesn’t ruin the movie but with some better acting during some of the key emotional scenes could have made this movie a better watch. Ollie’s dad played by the late George Carlin was a good character but also has moments of substandard acting. Ollie’s love interest Maya is played by Liv Tyler. I normally am not a fan of Tyler’s but she plays a quirky video store employee quite well. Lastly is Ollie’s daughter Gertie played by Raquel Castro. She is good in the overly adult way all kids are in films. She is cute and it is easy to like her. Now I do pick on the acting but to be honest they were all right for their respective roles and I don’t think I would have changed any of them.
As the film fast forwards seven years into the future the Trinke clan is still under the same roof and are no less fun to watch. Ollie is a great dad and totally devoted to his child. He struggles with his life though as he wants his old publicist job back while dealing with his confusing emotions surrounding Maya. Of course conflict arises from his deviation from the status quo but it is in this conflict that the movie can thrive. As the movie heads to its predictable ending it still somehow satisfies and it is easy to accept. The film will never amaze you but the story is fun and can get serious when it needs to. Plus any film where there is a kids production of Sweeney Todd can’t be all bad right?
Director and writer Kevin Smith makes a foray into the world of traditional romantic comedies and does a solid job with this film. His characters are relatable and believable and the story is an easy watch. Sure the jokes could have been funnier or come more often but it doesn’t make this a bad film. The musical score enhances this story about a single dad who has lost his way but still is on the right path.
I give this movie a recommendation but especially to people who like romantic comedies. Get over Jennifer Lopez being in it and just enjoy the flick.
T Factor + If you like romantic comedies then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you are expecting a traditional Kevin Smith film then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Raising Helen, 500 Days of Summer.