Movie Reviews

Mar 312004

“Jersey Girl”

Writer/director Kevin Smith has made some of the funniest

comedies ever. From “Clerks” to “Mallrats” to, my favorite,

“Chasing Amy,” Smith has become the filmmaker of choice for many

movie fans, particularly college students or anyone with a taste

for vulgarity. So who would have guessed Kevin Smith’s latest film

would be a heartwarming sap fest about the relationship between a

windowed father and his young daughter?

Ben Affleck plays Oliver “Ollie” Trinke, a self-absorbed music

publicist whose life takes a dramatic turn when his wife, played by

Jennifer Lopez, dies while giving birth to the couple’s daughter.

Ollie, in the movie’s most frustrating scenes, is not cut out for

single parenthood and relies heavily on his dad, played by George

Carlin, to do his fatherly duties for him.

After losing his job, though, Ollie finds more time for his

daughter, played by newcomer and J. Lo look-alike Raquel Castro. He

also finds time to meet a cute video store clerk, played by Liv

Tyler, who urges him to move on in his love life, which has

remained dormant in the seven years since his wife passed away.

“Jersey Girl” is about as formulaic as it sounds, but I was so

thankful for a few random moments where I could sense the Kevin

Smith I know and love trying to infuse a little bit of what he does

best. Some conversations in the film push its PG-13 rating to the

limit, but there are the bright spots in the film, if not a little

inappropriately out of place considering the tone of the majority

of the movie.

Kevin Smith movies have a tradition where alumni from other

Smith films tend to pop up for cameos and I was pleasantly

surprised that “Jersey Girl” continued this tradition, even if

signature slackers, Jay and Silent Bob, were unfortunately, yet

understandably, MIA.

It felt like Smith’s contributions to the script were only a few

post-it notes, however, there are some really hilarious lines and

moments, such as an extremely funny opening sequence where a

classroom of young kids share stories about their lives.

It isn’t fair to judge “Jersey Girl” based solely on Kevin

Smith’s previous projects. Taken on its own, the movie is only

decent. Some scenes and dialogue feel awkward and the plot provides

zero surprises that haven’t already been glimpsed in the


Many of my fellow audience members were clearly more touched and

impressed than I was and so “Jersey Girl” does have the potential

to be hugely satisfying, depending on the individual. There were

more sobs and sighs of “ahh” uttered by those in attendance than at

a movie screen in a long time.

2.5 out of 4

“The Ladykillers”

The Coen Brothers directed this loose remake of a 1955 British

comedy about a group of eccentric criminals, led by an overly

articulate Southern gentleman (Tom Hanks), who use the cellar of an

unsuspecting old lady (Irma P. Hall) to plan and carry out the

heist of a riverboat casino. Their host eventually catches on and

offing her seems to be the groups only option.

While this film is nowhere near as good as the Coen’s “Fargo” or

“O Brother Where Art Thou,” it is thankfully much better and far

funnier than last year’s “Intolerable Cruelty.” Still, the movie,

and a few of the characters in it, sometimes goes beyond quirky to

become over the top and annoying. It alternates between being a lot

of fun one minute and somewhat irritating the next.

2.5 out of 4


“Jersey Girl”


1 hour 43 minutes


“The Ladykillers”


1 hour 44 minutes

Carmike and Cinemark

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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