B-Fleck is back! And this time, it's
Kevin Smith is also back, as the writer/director.
He's decided to go out on a limb a bit by doing a movie that's about
family and love and the things that are important in life, rather than
another Jay and Silent Bob movie (although to some, Jay and Silent Bob
are what's important in life).
The movie has been sitting around on a shelf for a while, largely due
to B-Fleck's recent performance at the box office. Pearl
Harbor, Paycheck, and...you know...Gigli...none of them were
exactly red-hot blockbusters. The other reason the film was put on
hold was because J-Lo is also in Jersey Girl. Before
Gigli came out, the studios were undoubtedly planning to bill the
film as "BEN AFFLECK AND JENNIFER LOPEZ in Jersey Girl."
Gigli performed so badly in theaters that Jennifer Lopez's
name and image appear on none of the advertising for Jersey Girl
now...not in clips, not in trailers...they don't want any association to
be made with that film (and rightfully so).
As a matter of fact, though she is in the film, her role is fairly
small and only in the beginning. And, come to think of it, there
are a lot more similarities between Gigli and Kevin Smith's film
Chasing Amy (both feature B-Fleck pursuing a lesbian, making him
the king of men pursuing lesbians in movies). Of course,
Chasing Amy was good -- but then again, compared to Gigli...what
But this review isn't about trashing Gigli. It's about
Jersey Girl. Fans of Kevin Smith might be thrown for a
loop. It doesn't feature the cleverness of Clerks or
Chasing Amy. It doesn't feature the wackiness of Mallrats,
Dogma, or Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The film does
have a few funny lines, but it's that cute kind of humor rather than the
laugh so hard you fall out of your seat kind of humor.
Jersey Girl is all about feelings and family and touchy-feely stuff.
It won't be what a lot of Kevin Smith fans have come to expect.
That's not to say it's bad, however. In fact, Jersey Girl
is a fine film...the emotional stuff is touching without being sappy,
and it's a nice story.
Liv Tyler and George Carlin are the main supporting cast, and they're
both good. Carlin plays Ben Affleck's crotchety father, and he's
very dad-like. Liv Tyler is a video rental store clerk and she
exudes cuteness, though her role isn't terribly well developed nor a
major focus of the movie. It's all about Ben Affleck, and his
character's daughter, played by Raquel Castro. She does a great
job, and is one of the better child actors out there. At least,
she was when the movie was filmed. They've held it for so long
that she's probably over the hill for the kiddie parts by now, but she's
good and aptly carries her half of the movie.
So, here's the thing. Actually, the main thing is getting over
any expectations you might have about a Kevin Smith film. If you
go in expecting a tug-at-your-heart feel good movie that isn't a dorky
comedy or a clever comedy, you'll be fine. Here's the other
The movie has Ben Affleck playing a dad. While he's good, for
the most part, there are times when he just isn't convincing at all as a
father on screen. He often refers to his daughter as "young lady",
and it doesn't sound fatherly at all. It doesn't fit. It
takes you out of it. But the weirder thing that may disturb some
people is that they show some things that aren't a big deal...a naked
baby, Ben Affleck and his on-screen daughter sharing a bathroom with her
sitting on a toilet. In real life, that's fine, they're kids,
there's nothing creepy about it. Perhaps it was because the Masked
Reviewer didn't find Ben Affleck entirely convincing as a father all the
time, but for whatever reason you might find yourself thinking from time
to time that certain scenes are inappropriate or disturbing. "Oh
look, there's Ben Affleck, pretending to shave while a 7-year-old-girl
is sitting on a toilet." Again, nothing bad happens, but it may
strike you as ... odd.
Then again, it may strike some of you as extremely hot. If it
does, you should get help, you sick, sick person. That's just
In any event, it's worth checking out if you want a nice little
touching movie about family and priorities and that sort of stuff.
Expectation from the Title: After a magical accident at a
sporting goods store, Jessica is transformed into a shirt with her
most-hated hockey team's logo on it. Can she turn back to human
form? Will the man who wears her spill mustard on her?
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
The little girl is just darling.
The Pros: A sweet story, the acting is fine, it's moving
without being mushy.
The Cons: Ben Affleck doesn't pull off being a dad
convincingly for the whole film. It's not what you'd expect from
Kevin Smith...it's good, but different, and some fans may not want