A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language and sexual references for a PG-13. Ollie and Maya talk about pornography and masturbation and she offers him a "pity jump." Ollie walks in on Gertie and a friend playing doctor and Gertie walks in on Ollie and Maya in the shower (with clothes on). There is brief diaper humor. Characters drink and smoke (references to alcohol abuse) and there is a cocaine joke.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ollie (Ben Affleck) has it all -- a successful career as a publicist for pop stars and a beautiful wife (Jennifer Lopez). When she dies in childbirth, he is shattered. He turns the baby over to his father (George Carlin) and throws himself into his work. Ollie falters at first but then discovers how much he loves that baby. He loses his big fancy job and ends up driving a street sweeper like his father so he can take care of her. Seven years later, she has grown up into an adorable movie tyke named Gertie (the very talented Raquel Castro), and he is just about ready to begin to notice the very pretty girl (Liv Tyler) at the video store. Then comes the big crisis -- will Ollie go after that big fancy new job or will he be there for Gertie's school talent show?
Is it any good?
The jokes in JERSEY GIRL movie are so flat, so easy, so boring. Can you really think it's funny to have Ollie, circa 1997, try to persuade reporters that George Michael is "all about the ladies?" And a "meet cute" over bisexual porn in the video store? Having a young child sing Mrs. Lovett's role in "Sweeney Todd" at a school production isn't as charming as you think it is (though it is pretty funny that all of the other children perform numbers from "Cats"). The two barflies who act as Gertie's "uncles" aren't as cute as you think they are, either. Bart's alcohol problem comes and goes for the convenience of the script. The "playing doctor" scene and subsequent twist feels like a "very special" episode of "Full House" to the tune of "The Cat's in the Cradle."
Affleck has some affecting moments and Tyler's offbeat warmth makes their scenes together work better than they have a right to. Castro transcends her character's faux adorability with some real star power. But the formulaic script and uneven tone make this film a real disappointment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how they balance their family and work responsibilities. What are some of Ollie's alternatives? Do you think Ollie is a good father? Do you think Bart is a good father? Sometimes families are made up of people who are related to each other, and sometimes they are made up of people who just care about each other -- do you agree?
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