My List: Jersey Girl (2004)

Rating: 9/10

Ollie’s life is turned on his head when his wife dies in childbirth and he’s blacklisted from his career when he bad mouths Will Smith, along with all the news people interviewing him. He has to learn to raise a girl as a single dad while discovering what it really means to be a father.

This is a very touching story about love and loss, but mostly about fatherhood. It’s not Kevin Smith’s usual affair, though there are plenty of dick and fart jokes, but it’s mostly about what it takes to be a dad. It’s an odd anomaly where everyone is perfectly cast, and it feels like a good mix of drama and comedy without one ever overtaking the other, and yet it still didn’t do well in theaters. Still a great movie, and everyone in it performs well, but the person I want to talk about the most is George Carlin. I don’t think Carlin, one of the best stand up comedians of all time, really took on very serious roles throughout his lifetime. But here he plays someone very straight as Ollie’s dad and it comes out beautifully.

My only complaint of the entire movie is one single montage. It’s of Ollie giving a speech which is the “Best speech he’d ever given” or something, but we don’t get to hear any of it. We just get to hear about it later. I wouldn’t mind so much except this is a major plot point at this part of the movie. It’s just not something you do…

SCORING:

+10: A great, emotional movie about fatherhood with a performance of a Sweeney Todd song that’s a bit butchered but somehow the high point of the whole movie. Very well put together flick that’s one of Smith’s bests even without Jay and Silent Bob in it

-1: If you can’t make the uplifting speech uplifting enough maybe use something else as a catalyst for your film’s conflict?

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