Ben Affleck is Ollie Trinké, a 27-year-old man who seemingly has everything. He’s a successful, driven music publicist, he’s got a BMW, a posh New York City apartment, and he’ s just married Gertie, the girl of his dreams, played by Jennifer Lopez. Things go south quickly, however, when Gertie dies while delivering their baby daughter. More unfortunate circumstances arise, and with no other options, Ollie is forced to turn to his Father (George Carlin) for help with the newborn. He moves back in to his childhood home in New Jersey, and must find a way to provide a life for his daughter.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I am really starting to like Ben Affleck, both as a person and as a (*gasp*) actor. First, the guy immediately gets on my good side by publicly blasting the greed of the Yankees for acquiring A-Rod, then he is laugh-out-loud hilarious when he hosts Saturday Night Live. His performance in this film is funny, moving, and just plain likeable.And that sentiment goes for the entire cast as well. George Carlin is absolutely superb as Ollie’s gruff, but well-meaning Father. It’s a shame this man hasn’t been given a chance to really show he can act in the film industry. This performance ought to raise quite a few eyebrows. Raquel Castro is the cutest little girl on the planet Earth. She completely steals the movie as Affleck’s 7-year-old daughter Gertie, and she’ll steal your heart when you see the movie too. Kevin Smith has done a 180 degree turn from his previous dick-and-fart-joke laden “View Askewniverse” endeavours with this fantastic little gem of a film, and I applaud him for it. It’s a very sweet, very touching story about Fatherhood, family, and learning to accept and love what you have, rather than drive yourself crazy with what might have been.
The movie walks a very fine line between mildly sweet and sickeningly saccharine. A lot of people are going to be turned off by Jersey Girl’s unabashed sentimentality. The movie is, in essence, a “chick flick” for guys. Ollie’s huge decision at the film’s climax is fairly predictable, and certainly could’ve gone a different way with the same results. Some obvious “Kevin Smith moments” still sneak their way into the movie to cause the viewer to be taken out of the story.