|Saturday, March 27, 2004
|'Jersey Girl' is so lame, you even miss J.Lo
By Beth Jones
Here's a story about a single guy raising a kid on his own with only a couple of poop jokes.
That's unusual among movies of this "Three Men and a Baby" ilk, but it's downright remarkable considering "Jersey Girl" is a Kevin Smith film. That's right, the same dude who brought us a monster made entirely of dung in "Dogma."
Though I get turned off by his big ego, his sometimes sloppy writing and his juvenile sense of humor, I've always respected Smith for marching to the beat of his own drum. Which is why I'm so surprised to find myself describing "Jersey Girl" with these two words:
Formulaic and sappy.
I never thought I'd find myself yearning for a gross-out gag in a movie, but a few more might have helped "Jersey Girl." If the movie were any gooier, it would have been a Hallmark card.
Ben Affleck (who seems to be resorting to Donald Trump-like extremes to cover up his receding hairline) plays Ollie Trinkle. His wife is played by Jennifer Lopez, whose bit part was made even smaller when Smith scrapped a wedding scene with the couple after Bennifer became no more.
It's too bad J.Lo doesn't have a meatier role. While she sometimes behaves as if she has a pea-size brain, she does know how to act. Or at least, she's a better actor than Affleck, who is so stiff and out of it, you begin to wonder whether he's on tranquilizers.
After his wife dies in childbirth and he loses his job, Ollie and his daughter end up moving to Jersey to live with his dad (George Carlin), the only truly likeable character in this bunch.
Smith, who claims to have written the film as a valentine for his wife and a tribute to his recently deceased dad, does dish out some genuinely heartfelt moments. He's particularly articulate at explaining how hard it is for parents to head off to their jobs each day when they'd rather be at home with their kids.
Such moments would have made it easier to forgive the glossy sappiness of "Jersey Girl" if it wasn't for the downright terrible soundtrack.
In one key scene Smith plays - I am not making this up - Stevie Nicks' mawkish "Landslide." It's not used ironically either.
That, my friends, is simply unforgiveable.
At Carmike 10 at Tanglewood Mall and Valley View Grande 16. Rated PG-13 for language and frank sexual dialogue. One hour, 43 minutes.