Jersey Girl (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Ben Affleck, Raquel Castro, Liv Tyler, George Carlin, Jason Biggs, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Kevin Smith

The prolific king of independent movies is back with his sixth movie and some people are calling this Kevin Smith’s most adult movie yet. While I would consider CHASING AMY to be his first serious movie, JERSEY GIRL is considered more so because it moves away from the CLERKS universe where the slapstick and the foul mouth ruled supreme. Smith has stated that JERSEY GIRL is his most personal movie and it is hard not to see where he is coming from.

Ollie Trinkle (Ben Affleck) is a Manhattan music publicist who seems to have the perfect job and the perfect life when, without warning, his life is unexpectedly turned upside down and his life falls to pieces. When his father Bart (George Carlin) invites Ollie and his daughter Gertie (Raquel Castro) to stay with him until he finds his feet, Ollie reluctantly accepts the offer.

Several years have now passed and Ollie still dreams about getting his old life back together. One evening he takes Gertie down to the video store to rent a movie and Ollie inconspicuously tries to rent an adult title at the same time and is caught out by video clerk Maya (Liv Tyler). Maya and Ollie don’t quite hit it off but with all good things this will take time.

An opportunity presents itself for Ollie to get his old job back and possibly move back to Manhattan. He tries to convince his family and friends that this is a good thing for both himself and Gertie but everybody is opposed to it, especially Gertie. Ollie becomes so obsessed on reviving his impending fast track lifestyle that it takes an unlikely source to wake him up from his ridiculous dream.

Kevin Smith has gone on record to say that this is not his most original idea for a movie. This might be true but it just does not matter here. Where Tarantino is known for writing memorable dialogue, Kevin Smith should be recognised for writing witty lines. Not a lot of credit goes to Kevin Smith for his scripts and we have yet to encounter an actor who did not deserve to be part of a Kevin Smith movie. It is said that Ben Affleck is Kevin Smith’s muse and this is certainly Affleck’s best performance to date. When the humour during the first 15 minutes of the movie makes way for tragedy, there is not a dry eye in the house. It is cruel way to pull on people’s emotions but it works and so does this movie.

5 out of 6 stars