Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) marries the girl of his dreams (Jennifer Lopez), but tragedy sends Ollie back to single status after less than a year of wedded bliss. Well, not exactly single, since now he is the father of a baby girl. Fatherhood is not compatible with his high-pressure public relations career in New York, so Ollie moves in with his father, Bart (George Carlin), a street cleaner in New Jersey. In spite of the father–son bickering over how to care for a baby, Gertie (Raquel Castro) becomes a six-year-old with the wisdom of a grown-up and the center of Ollie’s devotion. At the neighborhood video store, Ollie and Gertie meet Maya (Liv Tyler) who quickly grasps Ollie’s loneliness by the pornographic videos he selects. Jersey Girl’s contrasts of big city sophistication versus small town traditions yield some funny situations and touching conflicts as three generations learn to live under the same roof in harmony. Will Smith, Jason Lee and Matt Damon make cameo appearances in this comedic drama.
It’s rated PG-13, but this film was challenged to change to an R rating. The themes of commitment, family values and letting go of the past will appeal to mostly conservative audiences. However, the coarse language and sexual frankness will offend that same group. When Ollie and Maya meet, she bluntly asks him about his sex life and habits of self-gratification. She feels it is her duty to relieve him of his sexual tension even though he has shown no interest in her. Their one attempt to have sex is interrupted when Gertie enters the bedroom. Add to that, crusty old Bart and his cronies spew out more than 50 bad words, and you have a good story corrupted by filmmakers who misjudge their audience.