Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jersey Girl

I am a huge Kevin Smith fan. That said, I still think his best movie is Jersey Girl.

Spoilers follow.

One of his only commercial failures, Jersey Girl was the victim of bad timing. At the height (or its opposite) of the Ben Affleck/J.Lo controversy along with their disaster Gigli, it was an unfortunate time to release a movie where Affleck and Jennifer Lopez play a married couple, even if it was only for ten minutes. What's really too bad about it is that as Lopez's character, Gertrude Trinke, dies in childbirth, the soul of the movie is born in little Gertie, whom Affleck's character, Ollie Trinke, names after his late wife. Stressed out over having to take care of his infant daughter, publicist Trinke goes ballistic at a press gathering, smearing his client, Will Smith. This move effectively ends his career as a flack.

Cut to seven years later, Ollie and Gertie are living in Highlands, New Jersey with Ollie's "Pops," played masterfully by George Carlin. Ollie works for the city, but is now a committed father, forgoing even the most casual relationship to concentrate on raising his daughter. While renting videos, Ollie meets Mia, played by Liv Tyler, a college student who is interested in Ollie's, let's say, interesting renting habits for a paper she's writing. When she discovers that Ollie hasn't been intimate with a woman in seven years, she offers to alleviate the situation, only to be caught by Gertie, who comes home early.

Ollie soon realizes that he misses his old life and tries very hard to get that life back, much to the chagrin of both Pops and Gertie. He works his way back, only to find that he's having trouble deciding which he wants more: his old life or his new one.

This movie has a real heart, and for a change is only rated PG-13. I watched this movie for the first time since Sera came home tonight, and I was brought to tears by the relationship that Ollie and Gertie share. I can only hope that Sera and I are that close when she's seven.

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