Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

I saw "Jersey Girl" this afternoon in between a lovely lunch and a delightful dinner (don't you wish you were on Spring Break?). It was as if Kevin Smith decided to make the most commercial movie he could possibly come up with. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. Some notes that don't give anything away:

1. What a waste of the marvelously talented George Carlin. Why would they decide to cast George Carlin when any one of a thousand actors could have played his part? His character spends much of the film communicating via facial expression, which isn't exactly taking advantage of Carlin's talents. He spends most of the rest of his film interacting with his two buddies, both of whom look like they came from Central Casting under "older blue-collar working stiffs," and, for me, were the most unsatisfying characters in the film because they added nothing but made the whole film seem that much more paint-by-number.

2. The young actress who plays the daughter of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck looks exactly like Jennifer Lopez... and nothing like Ben Affleck. It was as if they held a casting call for seven-year-old girls who look just like Jennifer Lopez, but didn't bother to consider that a theoretical child may also look like its father too... so instead of really looking like their child, she looks like a disturbing Jennifer Lopez clone. It's kind of eerie how similar they look, actually.

3. There is so much on-the-verge-of-crying going on in this movie, and so much obtrusive make-you-want-to-cry soundtrack going on that it even got me tearing up, and I wasn't sad. I just couldn't help it -- the violins swell, Ben Affleck starts rubbing his eyes... but it felt so wrong....

4. Lots of movies have this baffling, baffling problem -- the entire climax hinges on a business meeting that's scheduled at the same time as a school play... and, apparently, in the world of very ordinary movies, business meetings cannot be rescheduled. Ever. I know I've seen this plot before. Mrs. Doubtfire comes to mind, where at least they pretended the meeting was with someone busy... but still, it strains credibility to its utmost to imagine that normal business meetings are scheduled (a) without letting someone consult their calendar, and (b) on stone tablets that can never be edited. Also, in this case, it wasn't even clear what the meeting was supposed to accomplish exactly. This is a weak way out of actually writing a good script. "Oh, we need a conflict. How about a business meeting, because those can never be changed." Lazy.

5. There's a scene in Central Park where the seven-year-old girl is walking on a ledge. There's no railing. I kept wishing she'd fall. This is not a good sign for a movie.

6. The movie jumps seven years forward in time, and none of the characters (except the baby --> girl) age at all. It's baffling that they couldn't throw some lines on Ben Affleck's face, or dye George Carlin's hair for the first part... or do something, anything to make these people look younger or older in seven years.

7. Liv Tyler, who I've never before noticed in any movie I've seen, I will likely never notice again. I was struck by a complete absence of any interest I had in either her character or her acting. She's reasonably attractive, but played a character I found very annoying, and, maybe this just means she's a great actress, but I got the impression it wasn't much of a stretch. I know nothing about Liv Tyler though, so maybe she's an awesome person who just got stuck with this dud of a role in this very ordinary movie.