Film Flashback – Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl poster

If you’ve never watched Jersey Girl then it’s probably for one of the following reasons:

– you thought it would be full of dick jokes
– you knew it wasn’t full of dick jokes and didn’t think it would be funny
– you tarred it with the same brush as Gigli

Shame on you all.

If Dogma is Kevin Smith’s love letter to God, then Jersey Girl is an unabashed love letter to his daughter, Harley, and an honest analysis of fatherhood.

The plot is simple enough: boy meets girl; girl gets pregnant and dies; boy has to look after baby daughter leaving behind a prestigious job; boy has to learn to adapt.

Affleck is as genuine here as he’s ever been. There’s a fair bit of douchbaggery about his character to start with, but as the story moves along he is put in his place by his father (the late, lamented George Carlin), his daughter (Raquel Castro) and his potential new love interest (Liv Tyler). Jennifer Lopez isn’t in it long enough for anyone to get annoyed by her, and while her chemistry with Affleck ain’t great onscreen, there’s nothing as nauseous as “gobble gobble”.

Where the film shines is in the family relationships. Affleck’s character tries his best to be a good father, while simultaneously hankering for a life that is now out of his reach. Castro is an absolute delight, charming, not in the least bit precocious and a joy to watch, especially in the number she sings for her school production. Even Liv Tyler, usually best for just crying prettily, shows some acting chops as the younger woman who thinks Affleck should loosen up.

There’s not a dick joke or Jay and Silent Bob to be seen here, and the movie works just fine without them. Smith directs with his usual aplomb; and if you found Dogma charming, as many did, then you may well find yourself falling in love with Jersey Girl too.

This was originally posted on 24th March 2010 at The Day Hollywood Stood Still

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on May 25, 2010.

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