It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Jersey Girl" is a romantic comedy written and directed by a kinder, gentler Kevin Smith. It's the kind of movie Hugh Grant might make, except for the way Smith has with his dialogue, which is truer and more direct than we expect. There are a couple of scenes here where a video store clerk cuts directly to the bottom line, and it feels like all sorts of romantic rules and regulations are being rewritten.
The movie stars Ben Affleck as Ollie Trinke, a hotshot Manhattan publicist whose beloved wife Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez) is great with child. I would hesitate to reveal that she died in childbirth if I had not already read and heard this information, oh, like five hundred times, so obsessed is the nation with Ben and J. Lo. Lopez is luminous in her few scenes, helping to explain why Ollie remains so true to her memory that he remains celibate for many years.
His career meanwhile goes to pieces. Under pressure to hold a job while raising a daughter, he loses it one day, fatally offending his employers by causing a scene at the opening of a Hard Rock Cafe; he fails to understand why he should take Will Smith seriously ("Yeah, like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is ever gonna have a movie career"). By the time the story resumes, he has moved back to New Jersey and is living in the same house with his father Bart (George Carlin) and his beloved daughter Gertie (Raquel Castro), who is now about 7. He's not in public relations anymore; he works with his dad in the public works department.
Because Ben Affleck is a movie star and looks like one, you might expect him to start dating eventually, but no. You might expect that he could find another high-paying PR job, but no. He doesn't, because then there wouldn't be a movie. When a movie isn't working, we get all logical about things like this, but when it works, we relax.