Jersey Girl (2004 film)

Jersey Girl is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written, co-edited and directed by Kevin Smith. It stars Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler with George Carlin (in his final film appearance), Stephen Root, Mike Starr, Raquel Castro, Jason Biggs and Jennifer Lopez in supporting roles. The film follows a widowed man who must take care of his precocious daughter after her mother dies during childbirth.

Jersey Girl
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Smith
Written byKevin Smith
Produced byScott Mosier
CinematographyVilmos Zsigmond
Edited by
  • Kevin Smith
  • Scott Mosier
Music byJames L. Venable
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release dates
  • March 9, 2004 (2004-03-09) (New York City)
  • March 26, 2004 (2004-03-26) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[1]
Box office$35.5 million[1]

It was the first film written and directed by Smith not to be set in the View Askewniverse as well as the first not to feature appearances by Jay and Silent Bob, although animated versions of them appear in the View Askew logo at the beginning of the film and the still version at the end. At $35 million, not including marketing costs, it was then Smith's biggest-budgeted film, and was a box office bomb, grossing just $36 million.[2]



Oliver "Ollie" Trinké is a powerful media publicist who meets and quickly marries an attractive young Latina woman named Gertrude Steiney and they are both very happy together. After about six or seven months, Gertrude discovers that she is pregnant, but Ollie, obsessed with his publicity work, neglects her in favor of his job and doesn't lighten his workload. On her due date, Gertrude does go into labor and Ollie forces himself to leave his office to be at the hospital with her, but tragedy strikes when Gertrude dies from internal bleeding during childbirth.

To avoid his grief, Ollie buries himself in his work and spends long hours (day and night) at the office denying he is feeling any grief and ignores his newborn daughter, Gertie, while his widowed father, Bart, takes a month off from work at the Jersey City Sanitation Crew to care for her, but returns so that his son is forced to live up to his responsibility as a parent. Ollie is forced to take his baby daughter to work with him just when he must address a group of reporters.

Under the stress of a botched diaper change and a baby who will not stop crying, Ollie trashes his latest client Will Smith for him starring in Independence Day (doubting his ability as an action star) in front of a large group of assembled reporters. The outburst costs him his job, so he moves out to New York and moves back in with Bart in New Jersey. He eventually apologizes for ignoring Gertie, and attributes his public outburst to his grief.

Blacklisted by all of NYC's public relations firms over the incident, Ollie has to work as a civil servant in the borough where he now lives. Seven years later, Gertie, now in elementary school, often coaxes him to rent films to watch. At the video store, they meet Maya, a graduate student and one of the clerks, whose uninhibited probing into Ollie's love life almost leads to them having sex. She soon enters their lives.

As part of his job in the borough, Ollie speaks to a group of outraged citizens to win over their approval for a major public works project that will temporarily close a street in the neighborhood. His successful and positive interaction with them makes him realize how much he misses public relations work. He contacts Arthur Brickman, his one-time protégé, who sets up a promising interview.

The prospect of moving back to NYC creates tension between Ollie and Gertie, Bart, and Maya, especially when they realize his interview is on the same day as Gertie's school talent show. During an argument where Ollie says they're moving back to the city whether she likes it or not, Gertie angrily yells at him for putting himself before her again, going as far to say that she hates him and that she wishes he had died instead of Gertrude.

Enraged, Ollie claims he hates her too, and says she and Gertrude took his life away and that he just wants it back, which shocks everyone. Gertie breaks down crying and runs to her room while a disappointed Bart quietly chastises Ollie for what he said and Maya ends her friendship with Ollie in disgust.

A few days later, they reconcile, apologizing for their hurtful words, and she accepts that they will be moving to NYC. While waiting to be interviewed, he has a chance encounter with Will Smith. Smith is unaware who Ollie is, but their conversation about work and children convinces Ollie to skip the interview and leave. Before leaving, he refers Smith to Brickman.

Ollie rushes to make it to Gertie's Sweeney Todd performance at the last moment. The film ends with him, Gertie, Bart, Maya, and the rest celebrating at the bar. He and Maya hint at possible feelings for each other before Gertie interrupts them.

Ollie holds Gertie in his arms and says that they are staying in New Jersey because he decided not to take the job. She asks why if he loved it so much. He then says that he thought he did, but he loves his new life more because being a father to her was the only thing that he was ever really good at.


  • Ben Affleck as Oliver "Ollie" Trinké, the single father of little Gertie who lost his wife after the birth of his daughter.
  • Liv Tyler as Maya Harding, a graduate student at college who works at the video store, Ollie's new girlfriend and a mother figure to little Gertie.
  • Raquel Castro as Gertrude "Gertie" Trinké, Ollie's daughter who is named after Ollie's late wife and Maya's friend.
  • George Carlin as Bart Trinké, Ollie's father, who helps Ollie with Gertie
  • Stephen Root as Greenie, Bart's friend
  • Mike Starr as Block, Bart's friend
  • Jennifer Lopez as Gertrude "Gertie" Steiney-Trinké, Ollie's first wife who died from a brain aneurysm when she gave birth to baby Gertie.
  • Jason Biggs as Arthur Brickman, Ollie's one-time protégé now a successful publicist.
  • Paulie Litowsky as Bryan
  • Harley Quinn Smith as Trace Colelli
  • Betty Aberlin as the emcee at the school talent show




The film's budget included $10 million for Affleck and $4 million for Lopez.[3] In the original draft of the script, Bruce Willis rather than Will Smith was the cause of (and eventual resolution to) Ollie's problems. Smith wrote the first fifty pages of the script with Bill Murray and Joey Lauren Adams in mind.[4] The film was primarily shot in Highlands, New Jersey.[5] Academy Award-winning Vilmos Zsigmond, its director of photography, was said by Smith to have been "an ornery old cuss who made the crew miserable."[6] Paulsboro, New Jersey served as another of the shooting locations; scenes were shot there at its municipal building, Clam Digger Bar, and high school. Cut from it were scenes at Paulsboro's St. John's Church and Little League Field. The scene in the church was to show the marriage between Ollie and Gertie; it was cut shortly after Affleck and Lopez split up in real life and their scenes were reshot, reducing her part due to concern over the poor box-office reception of Gigli.[7]

It is the first major theatrical release to include a joke about the September 11 attacks: when Gertie asks to see Cats, Ollie refuses on the grounds that it is "the second-worst thing to happen to New York City."[8] On the second episode of the podcast "Blow Hard with Malcolm Ingram", Smith tells a story of Malcolm sending him lyrics to "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac, trying to apologize for an earlier incident. He was so touched by the email that he included the song in the soundtrack.[9]

Jason Mewes, who plays Jay in the View Askewniverse films, was to have a part in the film as "Delivery Guy", but Kevin Smith had temporarily severed ties with him as part of a "tough love" approach to get him to quit using heroin. The role was given to Matthew Maher.





The film is Smith's first to have received a PG-13 rating, rather than an R. According to interviews with Smith in the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, it was originally given an R,[10] due to the dialogue with Ollie and Maya discussing masturbation in the diner, but the decision was overturned. An extended cut was shown at Kevin Smith's private film festival Vulgarthon in 2005 & 2006. The extended version included much more of the Jennifer Lopez section, Ben Affleck's full speech at city hall, a longer ending, and some music changes.[citation needed] On the film's audio commentary, Smith stated that a longer version would be released within the next year. At a Q&A session in Vancouver in early 2009, Smith said that a release of the extended cut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc is "very possible". It has not been released as of 2020.[11]



Box office


The film grossed $25.2 million in North America, and $10.8 million internationally, for a total gross of $36.1 million, against a $35 million budget.[1]

Critical reception


Jersey Girl received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 43% based on 177 reviews, with an average rating of 5.30/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A surprisingly conventional romantic comedy from Kevin Smith, Jersey Girl is warm but often overly sentimental".[12] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 43 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13]

Smith was quoted saying his film was "not for critics".[14] Smith's reaction to Jersey Girl after its failure was dour. He referenced the film during his cameo appearance in Degrassi: The Next Generation, jokingly telling Paige Michalchuk, whom his character had cut out of his fictional film Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh!, that he cut Lopez out of most of Jersey Girl and wanted to cut Affleck out too, "but then it just would have been that little kid."[citation needed] In an interview on the Clerks II DVD, Smith noted "All these people were just trashing this movie's stars instead of looking at the movie itself. I get that a lot of people didn't like it but dude, I spent two years of my life on that movie."[15]

The film was nominated for three Razzie Awards: Worst Actor for Ben Affleck, Worst Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lopez, and according to the press release, "Ben Affleck and either Jennifer Lopez or Liv Tyler" for Worst On-Screen Couple. Raquel Castro won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Actress Age Ten or Younger, for her performance, and the film was nominated for Best Family Feature Film – Comedy or Musical, but lost to Christmas with the Kranks.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Jersey Girl". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  2. ^ Masters, Kim (February 3, 2011). "Kevin Smith: 'Alarmist Ninnies' Misinterpreted Sundance Outburst". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  3. ^ "Marketing 'Jersey Girl' in a post-'Gigli' world". Today. Associated Press. March 24, 2004. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Smith, Kevin (August 8, 2007). "Rosario, the Prom, and the Week That Was". Silent Bob Speaks. My Boring Ass Life. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  5. ^ "Visit Highlands, New Jersey". Jersey Girl official website. Miramax. Archived from the original on September 3, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  6. ^ "AICN, Round Two: Responses to Talk-Back Posts". View Askew Productions. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Smith, Kevin (August 12, 2003). "Come Back, Jason Blair! All is forgiven!". View Askew Productions. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (March 21, 2004). "Kevin Smith shares the 'Jersey Girl' love". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  9. ^ Ingram, Malcolm. "Blow Hard Episode #2: Blow Harder". Blow Hard. SModcast. Archived from the original on September 7, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "Smith wins appeal for R rating on 'Porno'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Associated Press. August 5, 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  11. ^ Kirkham, Steven; Jamieson, Robert; Turner, James (April 4, 2009). "Vancouver Q&A: What We Learned..." News Askew. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ "Jersey Girl (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Jersey Girl Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Ansen, David (March 29, 2004). "Director Kevin Smith says his warm new movie, 'Jersey Girl,' wasn't made for critics. Good thing. A frank exchange with NEWSWEEK's David Ansen". View Askew Productions. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Harris, Will (November 10, 2006). "Kevin Smith interview, Silent Bob". Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  16. ^ "Award nominations at Young Artists Awards". Young Artist Awards. Archived from the original on January 22, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2017.