Jersey Girl (2004)

Film review: Jersey Girl (2004), written and directed by Kevin Smith

jerseygirl“A romantic comedy by Kevin Smith! Sold!” I said, looking at the on-screen TV guide. Because it’s Kevin Smith, I was expecting to see Jay and Silent Bob somewhere, but strangely, they don’t seem to have made a cameo here.

Instead, it’s the love story of Gertrude Steiney (Jennifer Lopez) and Ollie Trinkie (Ben Affleck). Ollie is a high-flying music promotor with a very busy inner city life. When his wife gets pregnant, she tells him he needs to spend some more time with her, because if he’s to be a father, there are more important things than a career.

Disaster strikes. Gertrude dies in childbirth, and Ollie throws himself into his work, suffers a career-destroying breakdown, and moves to live with his father (George Carlin) in Jersey with his baby girl.

This is the story of Ollie being town between a career and his daughter Gertie (Raquel Castro).

Also starring Liv Tyler as Maya, Jason Biggs as Arthur Brickman, Stephen Root as Greenie, Mike Starr as Block, with cameos by Matt Damon as a PR exec, and Will Smith as his very self.

Okay, so there was no Jay and Silent Bob (although you could say Greenie and Block were their spiritual stand-ins), but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t sure this would be a very good film, because … well, Ben Affleck. As it happened, I found myself deeply moved by the story of the unexpected widower struggling to be a dad. If I’m not mistaken, there were tears. Surprise!

That the film was very darkly funny in places also helped – Gertie’s fascination with Sweeney Todd leads to much merriment for the viewer. Speaking of which, Raquel Castro does a very good job with playing Gertie, both with regards to acting and singing.

It certainly isn’t the sort of film I thought it would be, but I was pleasantly surprised.

4 out of 5 garbage trucks.

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