Jersey Girl is far from my favorite Kevin Smith film. Actually, that could be said by most Kevin Smith Fans. Though, to be fair, each repeat viewing, I’ve liked it a little bit more than the last. Most people, when they sit down to watch a Smith movie, they expect a constant barrage of dick and fart jokes. But, with Jersey Girl, Smith was in a different place in his life than he was with the Jay and Bob flicks. Married, and now a father, Smith decided to write something a little different.
On the surface, Jersey Girl is a sharp-witted RomCom, with some familiar, yet toned down Kevin Smith tropes. The argument could be made, though, that all of Smith’s films, save for Red State and Copout, are romantic comedies. This one has more layers to it than is expected from this type of movie. Sure, the story is about a guy who loses his wife during childbirth, and is struggling with losing the career he loved, and being a single dad, but there’s more to it than that. One of the aspects of this film that hit close to home, for me, was the main character’s struggle to get his old job back. No, I’ve never lost a wife due to complications of childbirth, and I’ve never been a single dad, nor have I ever been a big shot publicist. But, I know what it’s like to want something so bad, that you can’t focus on the things you already have. I also know what it’s like to get that thing that I wanted so badly, and realize that I wanted it for so long, that I didn’t even realize that it was no longer what I wanted. Smith does a good job here, at making this underlying theme obvious to the viewer, without slamming them over the head with it repeatedly.
As previously stated, Jersey Girl is definitely not Smith’s best film, but its quality far exceeds its reputation. There are some outstanding performances, from the likes of Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, and especially George Carlin, in one of his last on-screen roles. The writing is tight, and Smith actually displays some camera movement, and shot framing, which he is known to avoid. It is a film that you may not revisit often, but needs to be in your collection, if in fact you collect Smith’s movies, because it does have an important place in Smith’s body of work.
If you’re familiar with Echo Bridge releases, you know pretty much what to expect. Generally these are just straight ports of whatever HD masters the studio has laying around. They’re budget titles, so you get what you pay for. Currently, Jersey Girl is $13.00 on Amazon, but you can find it for $4.00 in bins at Best Buy, and once Amazon receives a new shipment, it’s likely to sit at around that price as well.
The picture quality is acceptable. It’s definitely not as defined as a new release from Sony or Fox, but it is a noticeable upgrade from the DVD. The extra features, such as the making of featurette, and the “Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck Reminisce” featurette, as well as the audio commentary have been ported over to this release. And, you can rest easy, the disc contains a 5.1 DTS track.
The Blu Ray