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Kevin Smith
Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Raquel Castro, Jason Biggs, Stephen Root, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith
Writing Credits:
Kevin Smith

When justice is blind, it knows no fear.

Hollywood favorites Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler shine in this heartwarming all-star comedy about a guy who thinks he's lost it all only to discover he's got everything he needs!

Ollie (Affleck) is a smooth and successful big-city publicist who has the life he's always wanted - until things take an unexpected turn and he finds himself an unemployed single father back living with his dad in the suburbs. But just when he thinks his life has hit rock bottom, a sexy, no-nonsense video store clerk (Tyler) enters his life and shows Ollie that sometimes you have to forget who you thought you were and acknowledge what really makes you happy.

Also starring Jason Biggs - director Kevin Smith has delivered another hit critics are calling one of the year's funniest!

Box Office:
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$8.319 million on 1520 screens.
Domestic Gross
$25.266 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 9/7/2004

• Audio Commentary with Director/Writer Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier, and Special Guest Jason Mewes
• Audio Commentary with Director/Writer Kevin Smith and Actor Ben Affleck
• “From Mallrats to Jersey Girl: Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck Talk Shop”
• “The Tonight Show’s Roadside Attractions Featuring Kevin Smith”
• “Behind the Scenes of Jersey Girl
• Text Interviews with Cast and Crew
• Sneak Peeks


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Jersey Girl (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 2, 2004)

At one point, the combination of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez intrigued people and seemed like a positive for a movie. Then two things happened: the backlash from a public who quickly tired of the “Bennifer” relationship, and the disaster that was Gigli. A nuclear blast of a bomb, it leveled everything that surrounded it, and that went for all involved. After that clunker, Bennifer lost any sense of being a positive and turned into an albatross around the neck of Jersey Girl, the next flick to feature the pair.

Some feel that the taint of Bennifer unfairly kept people from seeing Jersey and prevented a worthwhile movie from finding an audience. While the former seems likely, the latter doesn’t apply. I dig Kevin Smith’s flicks, but Jersey did little for me.

The film starts in present day with a glimpse of first grader Gertie Trinke (Raquel Castro). A speaking assignment requires her to discuss her family, so she launches into a tale about her heritage. We then flash back to 1994 to meet her dad Ollie (Affleck), a successful music publicist. He meets and romances book editor Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez). They soon marry and Gertrude immediately becomes pregnant.

Tragically, Gertrude dies in childbirth. This leaves Ollie depressed and angry, and he neglects the baby. He tries to lose himself in his work and leaves Gertie with his father Bart (George Carlin) in Jersey. Eventually Bart gets fed up and forces Ollie to do his parental duty. This leads to a meltdown at a press conference that costs him his job. Ollie moves in with Bart until he gets back on his feet.

That never really happens, as we see when we leap to Gertie at age seven. She and Ollie still live with Bart, and Ollie has a job alongside his pop with Public Works. The press conference incident haunts him and keeps him from getting a new PR job. When Ollie rents a porno video, he meets clerk Maya (Liv Tyler) who presents an awkward moment when she asks about his wife. To make it up to him, she pressures Ollie to go out with him, though she also wants to interview him for her grad school paper about porno renting habits. When she finds out that he’s not had sex since Gertrude’s demise, she offers to do it with him; after some pressure, he accedes, but Gertie interrupts this interlude.

The rest of the film examines the various relationships. We see the slow expansion of things between Ollie and Maya, and we also watch the interactions with Gertie and others. Matters complicate when Ollie gets a shot at a new PR job in Manhattan, which stretches his family ties.

Jersey Girl also stretches the Smith résumé, as it offers a kinder, gentler take on his usual material. Some of his typical edge appears, but he clearly tones down his act. The PG-13 Jersey lacks the dirtiness of earlier works.

This bothered some fans, but I don’t object to those facets of the film. Indeed, I applaud Smith for giving something somewhat different a try. He’s long been accused of purveying little more than dick and fart jokes, which isn’t really true, but he does go for an oddly sophisticated form of puerile humor, which he largely abandons here. It’d be easy for him to continue to make flicks in that genre, so I think it’s cool he tried to expand his horizons.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t do so successfully. Jersey provokes a sensation I never experienced with prior Smith offerings, not even the lousy Mallrats: boredom. Jersey follows a predictable plot and does so with surprisingly little flair. It walks a fine line between cutesy and entertaining, and it usually falls on the wrong side. We get more than a little mawkish sentimentality, and occasionally the movie reminds me of Three Men and a Baby. That’s not a compliment.

Periodically the movie demonstrates some signs of life, such as Gertrude’s hormone-induced breakdown when she takes her heavily-pregnant self to a music industry party. She compares herself to thin women and Ollie tells her they’re all “coked-out whores”, to which Gertrude replies, “I wanna be a coked-out whore!” Jersey needs a few more moments of that kind of spark.

It lacks them, unfortunately, and usually feels like little more than a slightly clever variation on a Lifetime movie of the week. Nothing about the execution of Jersey Girl falters, as the cast all do their jobs and the film seems professional in other ways. I could live without the cloying score, but otherwise I have no real complaints. Jersey simply lacks life or anything insightful or dynamic to make it stand out from the crowd. For an average filmmaker, that’d be fine, but for Kevin Smith, this comes as a true disappointment.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus A-

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.9375 Stars Number of Votes: 16
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