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
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 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
1 hour 43 minutes
1 hour 44 minutes
Carmike and Cinemark