Jersey Girl appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture looked good but not anything special.
Sharpness mostly appeared fine. Some light softness interfered with wider shots, but nothing heavy marred the presentation. For the most part, the flick seemed acceptably concise and distinctive. Jagged edges weren’t an issue, but I saw some light shimmering, and moderate edge enhancement caused more haloes than I’d like. As for source flaws, minor grain popped up but I saw no other issues like specks or grit, as the flick looked clean.
Jersey used a natural palette that presented nice colors. The tones consistently came across as warm and vivid. No problems with bleeding or noise occurred, as the hues were tight and lively. Blacks also came across as deep and dense, and shadows were fairly clean and smooth, though a couple of low-light shots were slightly muddy. The transfer fell short of greatness, but the movie mostly presented a good image.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Jersey Girl also seemed acceptable but unspectacular. The soundfield maintained a modest scope. The vast majority of the audio concentrated on the forward channels, and the stereo imaging of the score presented the most prominent elements. Most of the effects stayed with general ambience, as little about Jersey opened up the mix in an active way. As for the surrounds, they kicked in with more minor environmental information and that was about it; they didn’t work too hard.
For the most part, audio quality appeared positive. Speech usually came across as natural and distinctive, though I heard a little more edginess than expected. Effects were a small factor but consistently seemed clean and accurate. Music fared nicely, with tight highs and firm lows. The audio of Jersey generally satisfied but that was about it.
While not one of Kevin Smith’s most packed DVDs, Jersey Girl comes equipped with a decent roster of extras. We start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Kevin Smith plus producer Scott Mosier and special guest Jason Mewes, all of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion. Since he had no involvement with the movie, Mewes’ presence seems odd, but Smith wants him to act as the “voice of the viewer” to ask questions and move along the conversation. The newly-sober Mewes does this well, as he tosses out more than a few appropriate queries through the course of the flick.
He also serves to engage and spark Smith, and that helps make this an excellent conversation. The commentary looks at a mix of elements connected to the film such as casting, locations, editing and photography. The participants reflect on the negative impact of the Affleck/Lopez brouhaha, and Smith also delves deeply into the way that test screenings affected the course of the flick. He responds to critics as well. Much of the fun simply comes from hearing the three longtime friends shoot the breeze and go off onto tangents. The track often becomes laugh out loud funny due to the interplay. While one might want to learn just a little more about the actual making of the film, I won’t complain, for this remains an exceedingly entertaining and enjoyable chat.
For the second commentary, we hear from Smith and actor Ben Affleck, both of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. Actually, the latter comment is a bit misleading. Yeah, they do watch the movie as they talk, and they do occasionally remark on the action. However, the information rarely applies directly to the material on-screen at any particular time.
Instead, the pair go over topics connected to the flick. A lot of this deals with the media. Smith starts with a rant about problems with the British press, and we then get Affleck’s insights into his relationship with Jennifer Lopez and the public nature of that union. In addition, we get notes on the film’s reception, reactions to it, and the business of Hollywood. More notes show up to get into problems working with young actors as well as information on the other cast plus a mix of production bits. It’s not quite as humorous as the first commentary, but it’s still very entertaining. Both Affleck and Smith are insightful in their own right, so the pair together becomes lively and amusing. It’s a very good track.
More from that pair appears in From Mallrats to Jersey Girl: Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck Talk Shop. The 27-minute and seven-second piece shows the pair as they go through a mutual interview. They yak together about their careers together, which means we get some information but a lot of them cracking on each other. Just like the commentary, it’s fairly useful and also simply a lot of fun.
Taken from segments shot for The Tonight Show, Roadside Attractions with Kevin Smith follows the filmmaker to various locations. A 103-second introduction from Smith sets up the concept, and then we find him at five spots: upstate New York (five minutes, 31 seconds), Orlando (5:28), Tampa (5:24), Seattle (5:08), and on the set of Jersey Girl (6:51). In all of these but the last, we see Smith visit cheesy places. The final one gives us Smith’s chats with folks on the set. These are pretty hit or miss, but they offer some funny moments.
Behind the Scenes of Jersey Girl lasts 16 minutes, 20 seconds as it offers a fairly standard promotional featurette. We get many movie clips plus some shots from the set and interviews with Smith, Mosier, Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Liv Tyler, Raquel Castro, and George Carlin. We get basic notes about the project’s origins and then receive a recap of the story and characters. They mostly praise each other along with notes about interactions on the set. It’s a pretty mediocre featurette that does little more than tout the flick.
Next we get text interviews with Smith, Affleck, Liv Tyler, George Carlin, Raquel Castro, Matt Damon, Scott Mosier, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, production designer Robert “Ratface” Holtzman, and costume designer Juliet Polcsa. Conducted and written by Anthony Teofilo, these cover many subjects connected to Jersey as well as other appropriate domains. They repeat some information from elsewhere but also expand on various notions and add material on related domains. These are solid, informative chats.
The DVD opens with some ads. We get previews for Finding Neverland and Shall We Dance?. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area with trailers for Dear Frankie, Raising Helen and The Alamo.
Kevin Smith can make films that don’t rely mainly on puerile humor, but can he do so in a compelling and entertaining way? Probably, but one won’t get that impression from the bland Jersey Girl. The movie manifests occasional signs of life but not enough to make it anything special. The DVD presents better than average picture and audio along with a very nice roster of extras. I never thought I’d refer to a Kevin Smith flick as “forgettable”, but Jersey Girl falls into that category. The supplements make it much more fun, especially for longtime Smith fans, but the movie itself remains lackluster.
Consumer purse strings note: during the commentaries, Smith discusses deleted scenes and tells us an extended cut of Jersey Girl will hit DVD in six months to a year. Other than the longer version of the film, I don’t know how the two packages will differ, but some fans may prefer to wait for that release rather than have to “double dip” down the road.