Jersey Girl

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Jersey Girl
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

As you have probably heard by now, Jersey Girl is not your typical Kevin Smith movie. It is not a movie that is littered with dick and fart jokes, excessive swearing, marijuana and a feature appearance by Jay and Silent Bob. This time around, Kevin Smith has tackled a much more serious issue. Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) is a smoking hot music publicist in New York City. He is young, he is successful and he has the world at his fingertips when his life suddenly comes crashing down around him. His wife Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez) has tragically passed away, he has lost his job and Ollie now faces the task of raising their daughter Gertie (Raquel Castro). Ollie moves back to his hometown of New Jersey and enlists the help of his father Bart (George Carlin) to help him with this seemingly monumental task. The movie also features Jason Biggs as Ollie's protege Arthur Brinkman, Liv Tyler as Ollie's love interest Maya and cameo appearances by Smith regulars Matt Damon and Jason Lee.

Although Jersey Girl may be a disappointment to the legions of Kevin Smith fans that adore the vulgarity and humour of his previous works, I still found myself enjoying Smith's latest movie. I will admit it is not a movie for everyone. It is probably the closest thing we will ever get to a chick-flick from Kevin Smith. It has some teary-eyed moments and a couple of those cute little moments that would make even the most stoned of Kevin Smith fans smile. Raquel Castro, who plays the little 7-year old girl, is absolutely adorable in almost every scene in which she appears. This girl was absolutely gold and stole the movie from Affleck, Carlin, Liv Tyler and everyone else who appeared on the screen. Not to say that anyone else was bad in the movie. In fact, Carlin, Affleck and the bunch were all quite decent. It's just that this girl was that much better. She definitely holds her own with a few Hollywood heavyweights.

The story of the movie is fairly basic, with not a whole lot of surprises and very little originality. It might have been better had the death of J-Lo in the movie been kept a secret but her small part in the movie has been so heavily publicized that even tribesmen living deep in the jungles of Africa with no TV, radio, newspapers or internet probably know that she dies in the movie. It is an obvious attempt to distance this movie from the monumental Affleck-J-Lo disaster that we have come to know as Gigli. Nevertheless, I have to give Kevin Smith credit for one thing - he actually managed to make the death of Jennifer Lopez a heartbreaking moment. I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed watching the whole thing play out and for that, I must take my hat off to Mr. Smith. Who would have ever thought - the death of a Jennifer Lopez character in a movie a sad moment?

In the end, I will say I did enjoy Jersey Girl. Sure it is not filled with your typical Kevin Smith themes and sure people will probably not be going around quoting this movie or sitting around smoking a doob and talking about how funny that Raquel Castro was in the movie. But the movie does have its moments of humour, it is cute, it is sad and it is something different from one of the most adored men in college campuses all across North America. It is quite clear that Mr. Smith's own journey into fatherhood had an impact on his decision to make Jersey Girl. The only thing that really holds this movie back are its predictability and its real lack of imagination. Nevertheless, I did like Jersey Girl and would recommend it to anyone just looking to see a tender, light-hearted romantic comedy with a whole lot of Affleck, only a few minutes of J-Lo and even less Bennifer.

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