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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Liv Tyler
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Kevin Smith
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
102 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Miramax
 "Jersey Girl" Review 
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There's a scene early in this film involving Gertie as a one-month old baby in her crib...I feel it should be noted that in this scene, the one-month old baby out-acts Ben Affleck...by a mile...it's not even close. The baby acts on cue, looks on cue, even smiles on cue. As near as I can tell, Affleck has not yet gained these abilities.

"Jersey Girl" is interesting for a couple reasons. First, it is director Kevin Smith's first venture into semi-traditional filmmaking. It is a venture I hope he doesn't take again. Secondly, it is the second (and much more tolerable) film involving Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Once again...here's hoping there's not another one.

I would not call this film disastrous...it is not nearly as bad as "Gigli." The storyline is incredible cliché ridden, and Affleck once again proves he should not appear in any film involving honest human emotions or anything resembling acting (beyond macho). As a newly widowed father who loses his job as a music publicist, Affleck is only convincing when he's playing an asshole...go figure.

Fortunately, Lopez is not in this film much...The scenes she is in manage to land like a thud. Her birthing scene is ALMOST so intolerable that when (SPOILER ALERT) her aneurysm explodes one can't help but hope this means she will shut up for awhile.

Liv Tyler doesn't do much beyond the pouty lip thing here, but it's a tolerable character and she semi pulls it off.

Raquel Castro, as young Gertie, actually has quite a bit of charm and does a nice job in most of her scenes...especially given the fact that most of her scenes are with Affleck. As Affleck's father, comedian George Carlin does a nice job here.

There are some delightful scenes, and I will confess enjoyment watching young Gertie and her dad do the "Sweeney Todd" scene...it was kind of weird, but fun.

The film has a few cameos, including the obligatory Matt Damon and Jason Lee. Stephen Root has a bit part here, and Jason Biggs is under-utilized. Will Smith has a small part here, but it's semi-effective.

"Jersey Girl" is not an awful film, by any means. It is, however, devoid of much of the trademark wit and bite of Kevin Smith. It has a quite average script and very safe directing. The acting dooms this film to a sub-par performance. It wasn't destined for greatness, but this film should have been much better than it is.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

    The Official Rating Guideline
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    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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