“Jersey Girl” has a number of elements that should make viewers a little nervous before they see it. It’s a romantic comedy, and in many ways is targeted more for the female audience. It stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, and we know what happened the last time they were cast together. It has the by-now tired conflict of New York City versus the small town. And rather bizarrely, given these elements, it is written and directed by Kevin Smith, who was responsible for “Mallrats” and “Dogma.”What resulted, however, was an excellent movie, and probably one of the few true romantic comedies that will market itself well to men. It doesn’t beg for tears or play too hard at the emotions, and because of this it isn’t in danger of turning its audience off right in the beginning.In the movie, Affleck plays a music publicist who marries and has a daughter with a book editor, played by Lopez. Lopez’s character dies in childbirth, and Affleck is left to raise his daughter by himself. He ends his job in a memorable scene at the New York Hard Rock Caf, when the combined pressures in his life boil over and he criticizes his futureless client, a rapper-turned-actor named Will Smith – yes, the Will Smith, the scene takes place in 1996 -in front of hundreds of reporters. Affleck moves to New Jersey to try and raise his daughter, with the help of his street sweeper father, played by George Carlin.Kevin Smith was probably one of the best people to make this movie – or at least a movie of this genre. While the film has a number of clichs and well-used plot elements, Smith takes a few new angles. One of the most noticeable elements is the film’s use of strong language and overt sexual references. The contrast with most films is very stark, but it is done surprisingly tastefully, and even though the language is rough, and the sex is crucial to the plot – Affleck meets his new love interest, played by Liv Tyler, while trying to nonchalantly rent a porn at the local video store – it is hardly offensive.While most moviegoers with taste have a rather low opinion of Lopez’s acting ability, her presence is quite limited, and the rest of the main cast is very well-cast. Both Carlin and Affleck fit their characters perfectly, and Tyler’s role as an oversexed graduate student is also well-suited and not at all overdone. Raquel Castro, the young girl playing the part of Affleck’s daughter Gertie, also does a good job in her part, and handles her rather mature role very well.A setting other than New York/North Jersey would have made the film a little less tired, as the references to the city seem little different than those in other films. Nonetheless, the New Jersey of the film is the New Jersey of Kevin Smith’s memory, and he recreates it accurately enough to excuse most of the clich.The film’s weakest point is its constant reference to Will Smith. His acting is faultless in his cameo, but the appearance is incredibly predictable. There are remarks about the Hard Rock incident throughout, and at one point Affleck refuses to even rent “Men in Black” for his daughter. While going back to the days before his fame is funny in the Hard Rock scene, Smith’s appearance at a critical moment is foreseeable from that point onward.This movie is a new direction for Kevin Smith, and while this may not be his new niche, he has done an admirable job stepping out from his “Jay and Silent Bob” formula.Brown can be reached atcbrown@campustimes.org.



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The Clothesline Project gives a voice to the unheard

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 when founder Carol Chichetto hung a clothesline with 31 shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and childhood sexual assault.

Colin’s Review Rundown: Future and Metro Boomin, Lizzy McAlpine, Benson Boone, Civerous

Is it bad? Definitely not! But I found myself continually checking my phone to see how many tracks were left.