Laugh Date: Friday, July 21, 2017

What's Inside

RAH Humor Review:
Jersey Girl

by Dave Bealer

Copyright © 2004 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.


If you like romantic comedies along the lines of The Goodbye Girl, you're in for a treat. Ben Affleck turns in his best performance since Chasing Amy as Ollie Trinke, a former fast-track New York publicist who lost his wife in childbirth and finds himself raising his 7-year-old daughter in his home town of Highlands, New Jersey.

Even more suprising is George Carlin, who turns in his best acting performance to date as Ollie's dad, Bart. Who knew this man could act as well as he does stand up? The depth of his performance is amazing considering the cartoonish roles George has had in previous Kevin Smith films.

Let's talk about that for a second. Kevin Smith is one of those directors people seem to either love or hate. I fall into the "love" category (except for Mallrats), but even I was surprised how "mature" this film is compared to Smith's earlier work.

Yes, Jay and Silent Bob do appear in this film, but only in the opening animation for the new View Askew logo. For those Kevin Smith fans who are still with us after hearing that, this movie is definitely worth seeing.

Even if you were turned off by the sexual and scatological humor rampant in Smith's earlier films, you should give this film a chance. Sure, there are still references to poop and sex, but these are mostly confined to dirty diaper jokes and a couple of first-graders playing "you show me yours and I'll show you mine." Smith manages to make these events, especially the last one, quite funny and charming.

About the only parts that might be tough to sit through with your kids are a couple of scenes where Ollie's eventual love interest, Maya (played engagingly by Liv Tyler) grills him about his sexual habits, particularly regarding masturbation. The rest of the sex is mostly double entendres that should sail safely over the heads of most children.

There is less profanity in this entire movie than there was in any 15 minute segment of any of Smith's previous films. Even so, the film is as witty as you've come to expect from a Kevin Smith screenplay, and is well performed by the "Kevin Smith Players", including bit spots by regulars Jason Lee, Matt Damon, and Jason Biggs. Fans of the "Askewniverse" films will also recognize many of the people at the Highlands town hall meeting as the same people who shop at the Quick Stop in Leonardo.

One thing that struck me is how well Kevin Smith makes use of pop music to highlight the scenes, and set the mood in his films. He has always done this, of course, but Jersey Girl is his best performance to date in this arena.

Overall, I'd rate Jersey Girl as being at least as good as Dogma, although not as over-the-top funny as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Still, it serves as a big step towards mainstream respectability for man who is becoming one of the major young talents in Hollywood.

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Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront townhome in Pasadena, MD. with two cats who annoy him endlessly as he assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor. Dave can be reached via e-mail at:

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Copyright © 1992-2015 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.