In its theatrical release, this film was pretty much killed by the previous Aflleck/Lopez bomb "Gigli". A stunning example of how the press can pretty much ruin what turns out to be a very good thing.
Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) takes a huge step away from his normal fare to bring us a heartfelt, funny and, yes, serious look at fatherhood and what it takes to be a good father.
Many fans of Smith's previous films will be disappointed at the lack of toilet humor. I'm not exactly opposed to that kind of humor myself, but realize this is a very different movie. In "Chasing Amy", the character Helden McNeil laments his curse of writing comics that tell nothing but "d**k and fart jokes" and vows he'll tell a more meaningful story when he has one to tell--
This seems the most personal line of dialogue Kevin Smith has ever written. In "Jersey Girl", he shows he's got something more meaningful to say. A father himself, Smith approaches the film from the P.O.V. of a single father, struggling to get his old P. R. job back while juggling time for his daughter. In a more interesting turn, Smith has a multi-generational story as George Carlin plays the father of Affleck's character.
Don't worry, JLo is only in the first twenty minutes of the film before she dies.
This film is not really a departure for anyone whose bothered giving Smith's films more than a cursory glance. The only real change is that this is the first PG13 film he's ever made. Aside from that, the standard Smith philosophy is present. "Men are generally stupid, make lousy chooses but eventually learn from their mistakes and become better men."
If you just hate Kevin Smith, you won't like Jersey Girl. If you have no opinion of him at all, I suggest this be the film you see. It has a lot of heart and that's what truly matters anyway, isn't it?
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