RAH Humor Review:
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
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
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.
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:
Dangerous exercise: Jumping to conclusions.