Plot: What’s it about?
Olllie Trinkie (Ben Affleck) seems to have the perfect life, the kind of lifestyle most men would kill to be able to experience. He is one of New York’s most powerful publicists, which means he pulls in some serious cash, but his true pride comes from his family. His beautiful wife Gertie (Jennifer Lopez) gives him all the love and support he needs and soon enough, the household will have a new addition. Gertie is pregnant and Ollie couldn’t be happier, as if this child would be the perfect icing to the cake of his life. But his life is soon shattered when Gertie gives birth to a beautiful baby girl, but dies in the labor process. This sends Ollie into a severe downward spiral, as he is unable to cope and starts to lose his control over his actions. He continues to work, at the same pace as ever, but he cannot keep up with his responsibilities. When he isn’t depressed over the loss of his beloved wife, he is stressed out about the single father aspect of his life. After some time, his mind shuts down and he breaks down at a work function, which causes him to be fired. So he moves back in with his father (George Carlin) and tries to settle himself back down, which he hopes to accomplish by using all of his time raising his daughter. But when a new woman (Liv Tyler) enters his life, Ollie has to choose between the past and the future.
Kevin Smith had suckled long enough on the udder of his View Askewniverse, which yielded his first four motion pictures. In order to prove himself as a filmmaker and expand his horizons, Smith made Jersey Girl, his first film not based in that absurd realm. But Smith forgot one crucial cliche, that you never forgot who brought you to the dance. Without Dante, Randall, Jay, Silent Bob, and the other colorful characters from his previous Jersey based movies, Smith was forced to write realistic situations, with dismal results. His fans tend to blame the presence of then overhyped couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, but in truth, the problem lies with Smith. If you have any doubts about Smith’s struggle without his trademark universe, then look at what he claims will be his next project, a return to his roots with Clerks 2. I don’t think Smith is a bad writer and I’ve enjoyed his previous films, but its clear he needs to stick with Jay and Silent Bob driven pictures. The dialogue here seems forced and lacks the edge Smith is known for, which leaves us with a bland, by the numbers romantic comedy. Affleck turns in his usual wooden performance, while Liv Tyler is solid, but doesn’t have much to work with. In the end, Jersey Girl is sure to frustrate fans of Smith, but if you’re into lame chick flicks, then give this disc a rental.
Video: How does it look?
Jersey Girl is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a good overall visual presentation, but it has more flaws than most brand new releases. I saw instances of edge enhancement and halos, which spells bad news for viewers with large screens, but these defects are never too serious. The other issue is black levels, which seem to vary in some scenes and of course, that means inconsistent contrast throughout. I found the black levels in most scenes to be solid however, so its not too bad. The print is in perfect condition though, so no marks, nicks, or grain can be seen. The colors are also well presented, with rich and vivid hues that stream across the screen, as well as natural flesh tones at all times. This is by no means a flawless visual effort, but in the end, it provides amore than solid presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track won’t disappoint, but this material isn’t that powerful, so don’t expect too much. The main surround presence comes from the musical soundtrack and a few audio intensive scenes, but even then, the result is limited in scope. The atmosphere is active when it needs to be, but that it isn’t often and as such, the front channels handle most of the burden. This is how it should be however, as the film is dialogue driven and the vocals are well presented, with no real issues to report. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As always, Kevin Smith provides his audio comments here, but this time, he’s on deck in both sessions. Smith is joined by producer Scott Mosier and actor Jason Mewes on the first track, then star Ben Affleck on the second. Smith and Affleck make a good conversation, but don’t include much aside from stories from the set. Mosier compensates on the other track however, but as usual, Smith and his crew are brisk and focus more on entertainment. Additional time is given to Affleck and Smith in an interview featurette, but a general behind the scenes featurette is also included, but don’t expect that much. This disc also includes a Roadside Attractions segment from The Tonight Show, as well as some text interviews with the cast.