Kevin Smith has long been one of my favorite movie writers (and directors too, I guess). The man is hilarious, and he’s cool, and he’s a comic book geek turned very successful comic book writer to boot! His direction is not his strong point, but it doesn’t matter, because his movies are so funny, that the visual storytelling takes a back seat to the dialogue by default anyway.
Smith is also known for being rather dirty with the language. While Jersey Girl does have some of the usual Smith language, it’s very far removed from the typical Smith movie. It has a lot of heart. His movies are usually funny first, vulgar second, and then funny some more. But this one’s different. This is “warm and fuzzy” Kevin Smith, appealing to the ladies while still being witty enough to hold onto his brethren while making a movie that will become a classic date movie.
Jersey Girl is not Gigli, the much maligned Ben Affleck – Jennifer Lopez flick from last year that bombed badly. I never saw Gigli, but I have a feeling if I did, I wouldn’t hate it. Anyway, Ms Lopez is in this movie for roughly 15 minutes. If there is a leading lady in this film, it’s probably Liv Tyler, who’s really good here. But the “star” of this movie is really young Raquel Castro, who plays Affleck’s seven year old daughter Gertie. This is one of those star making roles, where a youngster steals the show and wins our hearts and everybody loves her for a while. Hopefully though, her star will continue to shine for a long time.
It’s Ben’s movie, but she’s something special.
Speaking of Affleck…
Ben Affleck is a cool guy. No, I don’t know him personally, but it seems kind of obvious from seeing his interviews and stuff. He seems very down to earth, and Hell, he too is a comic book geek (for which I give him much praise for choosing to do DAREDEVIL). In Jersey Girl Affleck shows great range, from Yuppie-ish media whiz, to grieving husband (I was actually kinda choked up), to clueless father and finally a good, humble man. (Oh please, Like I’m giving anything away here…Smith himself admits this movie is full of clichés…what, did you think maybe at the end Affleck loses it and kills everybody?)
But yeah, old Ben does a great job here, and I salute him for it.
So yeah, Kevin Smith has made a swell little movie here. It’s almost impossible not to like. In fact, I like it so much, that if it weren’t for the dreaded slow clap, which I’m sure Smith included on purpose, but still, grrr, you know, I would have added a “plus” to the grade…