Jersey Girl Reviews
You could see how green affleck was as an actor
In his first film outside of the View Askewniverse, Kevin Smith teams up once again with Ben Affleck. And jumping into a more mainstream style of narrative, he attempts to capitalize on the "Bennifer" craze of the early 2000's relating to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez being in a tabloid-whore relationship. However, Jennifer Lopez simply gets an overpaid cameo role before the film turns to focus more on Ben Affleck. Alas, it still serves to foreshadow the central flaws that prove to plague Jersey Girl.
Jersey Girl is an odd outing for Kevin Smith. The man has a knack for making quirky cult classics aimed at a laid-back market, creating legendary comedy films such as Clerks (1994). In Jersey Girl, he goes against everything he knows. Rather than making a simple low-budget comedy with characters so laid back that their importance rests more on what they have to say than what they do, Kevin Smith crafts a collection of every sentimental cliché in the book and turns it into an example of essentially every romantic comedy ever made. Instead of sticking to his cult classic roots, Kevin Smith pushes for a more mainstream market with Jersey Girl. Considering the insufficient box-office returns, it is safe to say that the experiment was a failure. But why Kevin Smith went with something which was so beneath him is truly a puzzling notion. As he returned to his roots with Clerks 2 (2006) it is clear he found his path, but Jersey Girl still stands out as having a such minimal distinction as a Kevin Smith film. Aside from working with Ben Affleck, George Carlin and Betty Aberlin after the three starred together in his dark-fantasy comedy Dogma (1999), the only moments in Jersey Girl which feel close to being in the style of Kevin Smith's trademark humour is the sporadic laughs brought on by George Carlin. Outside of that, everything is generic to the bone.
However, Jersey Girl is not without its charms. The film is insufficient in any kind of humour let alone Kevin Smith's special brand of comedy, and the entire narrative is predictable from start to finish while any hope that it could turn out otherwise is unfortunately misguided. However, for a predictable feature, it is a well-made piece of generic cinema. Though the abundance of sentimentality and lack of humour pay it no favours, Jersey Girl remains a well-crafted film with a certain charm about it. There is never much in the way of melodrama in the film which means that the overall mood of Jersey Girl is easy going and the film makes for laid-back viewing. Kevin Smith makes an effort to ensure that Jersey Girl is a feel-good movie, and in that sense he achieves it. It happens in the absence of genuine character development or plot originality, but there is a certain simplicity to Jersey Girl which establishes a market for genre fans. And all in all, everything is put together with strong production values and nice scenery.
I really found that Jersey Girl was able to achieve a sense of humanity which was able to slightly transcend the generic script at ties.
Ben Affleck's leading performance left me surprised. Though Ben Affleck has continued to disappoint me as a lead, his best starring efforts have been in Gone Girl (2014) and especially Chasing Amy (1997) in which he collaborated with Kevin Smith prior. In Jersey Girl, he once again proves that Kevin Smith brings the best out of him. Though the material he has to work with is incredibly generic, the character is not a melodramatic one. He is a mere everyman attempting to do what he can to follow his dreams and make the people around him happy, and so it simply takes a man with natural charm to make the role work. Easily enough, Ben Affleck happens to maintain that and never faces the burden of having to push beyond his capabilities. He really creates a likable protagonist for Jersey Girl, and this is predominantly established through the chemistry he shares with Raquel Castro. Though the two share an effective father-daughter chemistry, there is also a sense that the two actors treat each other as equals. Though there is a comedic condescension in the relationship they share, the two really manage to work the best out of each other. Ben Affleck's leading effort in Jersey Girl may not be in the best film, but it serves as an effective front for his natural charms.
Raquel Castro manages to serve as the standout in Jersey Girl. Though the standard for child actors is always different, in Jersey Girl she actually serves to make the greatest impact. She may have a natural juvenile charm about her, but at the same time she is able to share some genuinely touching moments with him as they progressively develop their predictable yet enjoyable relationship. Raquel Castro manages to keep herself alive with energy all throughout Jersey Girl and boasts a naturally likable demeanour which encourages Ben Affleck to do the same, ensuring that they remain an engaging on-screen duo.
Liv Tyler also makes a likable addition to the cast, creating a better romantic duo with Ben Affleck than she did when they worked together on Armageddon (1998). And George Carlin serves to be the funniest part of Jersey Girl in his sporadic collection of supporting scenes thanks to his naturally edgy nature. Jennifer Lopez also brings her charms to a part of Jersey Girl without staying on screen long enough for the tabloid taboo to be the most prominent factor in considering her role.
So Jersey Girl boasts some engaging performances from a talented cast, but it is so far away from anything that makes Kevin Smith films distinctively great that it ends up trapped on a generic route which is predictable from miles away with an abundance of sentimentality in lieu of comedy to sustain it all the way to the end