Jersey Girl (PG-13)
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Okay. Well, of course I wanted to see this because it was made by Kevin Smith. So it's not one of his View Askewniverse movies. Whatever. Doesn't mean it couldn't be good. And... as it turns out, it is good. I dunno, I didn't love it, or anything, but it was good. Not so much at first, but eventually... it gets fairly good. Parts were kinda boring, especially early on, but parts also could be really funny, in an ordinary way, not so much in a comedy movie way. And parts of it made me cry. Parts of it made me quite happy. So, what else can you really ask for?
Okay. It starts out with kids at school, delivering essays on their families. We hear a line or two from a few kids, then we get to Gertie Trinke. And um... well, she says a bit, and the scene jumps back to before she was born. So we slightly get to know her father, Ollie (Ben Affleck), and mother, Gertrude (for whom she was named). Ollie and Gertrude were dating, and he took her home from New York to New Jersey to meet his dad, Bart (George Carlin). And that went well, so he asked her to marry him. And then, 9 months later, Gertie is born. But her mom dies in childbirth. Which is the first time I cried during the movie. I dunno, it's not like I knew or cared much about either character at that point, but still... I sympathized completely. So, yeah. Anyway, Ollie, who was a music publicist, threw himself into his work, to avoid thinking about his wife's death. Meanwhile, he moved in with his father, who took care of Gertie. But then one day, the stress of Ollie's job just gets to him, and he says some things at a press conference that he shouldn't have, and gets fired. After that, he devotes himself to being the best dad he can be.
Flash forward seven years, Ollie and Gertie are still living with Bart in New Jersey. Ollie's been working the same job as his dad, and his dad's friends, Greenie (Stephen Root) and Block, who are kind of like uncles to Gertie. But he really wants to get back into publicity, and move back to the city. Meanwhile, het meets this woman named Maya (Liv Tyler), who works at a video store. That's... well, things are kind of weird at first, but they become friends, and possibly more. And really, I'm not sure what else to say. Gertie is a pretty precocious kid. She likes Maya, and she likes her grandfather, and she likes her life in the town where they live. And she wants to see "Cats" on Broadway, though by this time it's not running anymore, and anyway, her dad isn't a fan. But eventually she does get to see Sweeney Todd, and I'm all "No way! That's not a play for a seven-year-old!" But whatever, she seems to like it, and not be badly affected by it at all. In fact, she wants to do a scene from it for her school talent show. While pretty much all the other kids are doing "Cats."
Well, eventually, Ollie gets a chance to take a meeting with a publicity firm, which the guy who used to work under him, Arthur (Jason Biggs), arranges with his new boss. This is an exciting prospect for Ollie, though Gertie isn't happy about it, since she doesn't want to move. And... it leads to a painful scene. Still, he shows up for the meeting, and while he's waiting... an astoundingly ironic chance encounter leads him to realize he shouldn't take the meeting after all. Okay, yes, it's a totally cliched conundrum: Go to an important meeting you've been waiting for for years, that could totally change your life, or go to some more personally important thing, like your daughter's school talent show... Well, it's cliched, but it works anyway. He goes. They do their Sweeney Todd scene, which was pretty fun. Inappropriate, perhaps, but fun. One of the highest points of the movie, I felt.
So... happy ending. *shrug* I don't know what else to tell you. I'm not sure whether I ever need to see the movie again, but it was good to see once, at least.