Jersey Girl is a 2004 American comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. It stars Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, George Carlin and Jennifer Lopez. The movie received mixed reviews and the public didn't give the movie a chance after the Gigli debacle and the overexposure of Bennifer.
Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) is a smooth and successful Manhattan music publicist who seems to have it all. When his perfect life is suddenly tragically upended - leaving him as a single father unqualified for the role - he snaps.
Before long Ollie's big city life is a memory. Out of a job and out of luck, he reluctantly moves in with his father (George Carlin) back home to the New Jersey suburb where he was raised. It is the lowest point in his life. Just ask him.
The years pass and with them Ollie's plans for his future. Stuck in an unexciting, dead-end job, he sees no way out and no way back to the life he used to love. But he adores his young daughter Gertie (Raquel Castro), and she loves their life in the 'burbs. To her, Jersey is paradise.
While renting Gertie's favorite movie for the zillionth time one day, Ollie meets Maya (Liv Tyler), who challenges his priorities and perspective. He begins to realize that sometimes you have to forget about who you thought you were, accept who you are and acknowledge what makes you happy.
A dramatic comedy from writer/director, Kevin Smith, JERSEY GIRL reveals the honest, heartfelt and often amusing story about the man who wanted it all but got all that he needed.
The Casting of Gertrude
In May 2002, it was announced that Jennifer was in talks to appear in the film. (MTV)
When Kevin Smith was casting the film, his wife suggested Jennifer for the role of Gertrude because she had just seen her in The Wedding Planner and liked her in it. Kevin Smith told her that Ben Affleck just did a movie with her and probably wouldn't want to work with her again so soon. A week later, Affleck called him to tell him that he gave the script to Jennifer and that she loved it and that she could be great for the film (they weren't dating at the time).
Kevin Smith on Jennifer
When I spoke recently to Smith about “Jersey” he told me that despite all the media fuss about Ben & Jen that stemmed from “Gigli,” he’s still happy he cast Lopez in “Jersey.” “She’s great in the movie,” he explained.
“Without her, I don’t think we would have gotten the same committed, wonderful performance that we got out of Ben. I’d have gotten something great out of him, but I really got what I feel is something magical out of him because he was so in love with Jen while we were shooting the movie. And that comes across in their limited time together on screen. But it really comes across when she prepares to die and she’s out of the movie. You feel a sense of lose from this for the rest of the film. I think that’s largely because he was really into Jen while we were shooting.
“Also, I was glad to cast Jen because we also cast Raquel Castro, primarily because she looks like Jennifer Lopez. When she first came in the room, I was shocked by how close to Jennifer she looked. She looked like a mini Jennifer. And then, thankfully, her performance was also way up there. But the reason we started looking at her more closely was because she bore a resemblance to Jennifer.”
Lopez, Smith added, “was really crucial to this movie. And even though stuff happened with ‘Gigli’ it doesn’t matter to me because without Jen I don’t think the movie would be as good as it is on all those fronts. Then, of course, there’s always the question of, ‘That’s great for the making of the movie, but what about the marketing of the movie? How does that affect selling the movie?’ Thank God, that’s not my job. That’s the job of Miramax. (NewsAskew)
Cast & Crew
Director: Kevin Smith
Script: Kevin Smith
Production: Miramax film
Character: Gertrude Steiney
Raquel Castro: a huge Jennifer fan; Jennifer was her first inspiration
Release & Versions
It is Smith's first (and to date only) PG-13 rated film. It was originally given an R rating by the MPAA due to the dialogue with Ollie and Maya discussing masturbation in the diner, but this rating was appealed and overturned.
The film was not a commercial success at the box office, making only $25.2 million domestic and $10.6 million overseas against a $35 million dollar budget (easily Smith's largest) and a $15 million dollar marketing campaign. Like most of Smith's films, it has since gone on to profit from video and DVD sales.
1st Week-end: $8,319,171 (USA)
Total : $25,268,157 (USA) / $35,492,921 ( World ).
At the time, because of the Bennifer overexposure, and later, their break-up, test audiences were distracted by their onscreen relationship. (NYTimes) As a result, Miramax asked Smith to cut Jennifer's scenes and downplay her role in the film. She did not appear on movie posters or promote the movie. ''She's not the star of the movie and the marketing materials reflect her role in the film,'' Miramax publicist Amanda Lundberg told the New York Post at the time.
The original movie poster before Miramax removed Jennifer from all promotion.
An extended cut was shown at Kevin Smith's private film festival Vulgarthon in 2005 (and was shown again at the 2006 festival). Cut scenes featured in the extended version included a much longer extension of the Jennifer Lopez section of the movie that fleshed out the characters more, Ben Affleck's full speech in the city hall, a longer ending, and some music changes. One key scene, the "wedding scene", was cut from the film late in the process. Smith told Us Weekly, ''I didn't know if [it was right] to leave it in. People might forget they're watching a picture, like, 'Wait, didn't these two NOT get married?''' (EW) Kevin Smith also held onto a scene of Jennifer Lopez and Gertie dancing at the end for as long as he could. He really wanted to keep it, but because of the Bennifer press, he knew he couldn't. But, he held onto it until the last cut stage. (NewsAskew)
On the film's audio commentary, Smith states that a longer version of the film will be released within the next year. As of September 2007, no announcement has been made. In a recent interview, Smith said that the company has very little interest in releasing the DVD, but they'll probably release it in a few years. At a Q&A session in Vancouver in early 2009, it was revealed that a release of the extended cut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc is "very possible". (NewsAskew) In July, Smith stated, “[It has nothing to do with cost.] It’s unlikely to see DVD because Buena Vista Home Video wasn’t interested in doing it upon the initial release of the flick on home video, and then really wasn’t interested in doing it once the Harvey/Bob/Miramax/Disney breakup happened. Cost doesn’t have anything to do with it; it’s pure spite, at this point. So weird.” (NewsAskew) In September 2009, Smith's blog reported that "the “Jersey Girl” director’s cut Bluray has sadly gotten nowhere closer to seeing a release." (NewsAkew)
Critical response to the film was mixed, with some critics panning it as formulaic, while some other high profile critics (including Roger Ebert) praising Kevin Smith for trying different things in his film career. In response to negative reviews following the movie's release, Kevin Smith was quoted saying his movie was "not for critics".
Jennifer short apparence in the film was mostly well received by the critics.
“…Smith has said that Jersey Girl isn’t his ”funniest or most original film to date.” It’s probably fair to say that Jersey Girl isn’t the slightest bit hip, either. Instead, the new film is sweet, with just enough wacky Kevin Smith moments to keep it going.
Ironically, the film’s best performance is given by Lopez, who is funny, soulful and, unlike anyone else in this film, totally believable. When she’s sharing the spotlight with Affleck, she makes him a better actor. But, then, we’re not supposed to notice that sort of thing, are we?
More reviews : http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/jerseygirl
Jersey Girl diary: http://www.quickstopentertainment.com/jerseygirl/
Official Site: http://www.jerseygirl-movie.com/
Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, and Cameron Diaz were discussed as others in running for the Lopez role at one point.
Kevin and Scott explain the time frame was originally 1986 to 1994 due to Bruce Willis being the original choice for the Will Smith role. Clooney was another possible cameo (Affleck would have been a movie publicist).
During the production, Kevin Smith created a video game exclusively for Jennifer & Ben here is the cover and some links for more infos:
Set - September 22 - November 8 2002