Jersey Girl is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Kevin Smith. It stars Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Raquel Castro, George Carlin, Jason Biggs, Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith. At $35 million it was Smith's biggest-budget project to date ($10 million of which was Ben Affleck's salary, $4 million to Jennifer Lopez's salary), but bombed at the box office and received poor reviews. It is also the first film by Smith not to be set in the View Askewniverse or to feature appearances by Jay and Silent Bob.
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Oliver "Ollie" Trinké (Ben Affleck) is a powerful media publicist in New York City who tragically loses his wife, Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez), in childbirth. To avoid his grief, he buries himself in his work and ignores his new daughter, Gertie, while his father, Bart (George Carlin), takes 30 sick days in a row to care for her. Hoping to get him to live up to his responsibility as a parent, Bart suddenly returns to work one day, leaving him to deal with Gertie. Under the stress of a botched diaper change and a baby who won't stop crying, he trashes his client (Will Smith, for his soon-to-be released film Independence Day) in front of the assembled reporters and even lashes out at them. The public outburst costs him his job and he moves in with his father in New Jersey. He is humbled by the experience and finally looks upon Gertie with approval and conviction, saying he is sorry for ignoring her, he just misses Gertrude and didn't expect her to leave so suddenly. He promises to be the best dad he can.
Now blacklisted by all the New York public relations firms, Ollie tries unsuccessfully for years to get work as a publicist, whilst also working as a civil servant in the borough where he now lives to get by. Gertie (Raquel Castro), now in elementary school, often coaxes him to rent films to watch. At the video store, they meet Maya (Liv Tyler), one of the store's clerks, whose uninhibited probing into Ollie's love life almost leads to them having casual sex. She soon becomes a good friend and part of 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 enjoyable interaction with the crowd leads him to realize how much he misses the public relations work. He contacts Arthur (Jason Biggs), his one-time protégé, who sets up a promising interview.
The real prospect of moving to New York creates tension between Ollie, Gertie, Bart, and Maya, especially when he says that his interview is on the same day as Gertie's school talent show. She yells at him, saying she hates him and that she wishes he had died instead of her mom. He claims he hates her right back, and says she and Gertrude took his life away and he just wants it back. He immediately regrets it and tries to apologize, but the damage is done and she pushes him away and runs to her room, crying. He tries to clear his head by visiting Gertrude's grave, but it saddens him even more. A few days later he and Gertie apologize to each other, and she accepts the fact that they will be moving to New York. While waiting to be interviewed, he has a chance encounter with Will Smith (playing himself), the very man he trashed at his public outburst years before. He has no idea who Ollie is, but their conversation about work and children makes him decide to sacrifice the former for the latter.
Ollie is able to make it to Gertie's Sweeney Todd performance at the last second. 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 being interrupted by Gertie. He holds her and says that they are staying in New Jersey because he didn't take the job. She asks why he did so if he loved it so much. He says that he thought he did, but he loved his new life more because being a father to her was the only thing that he was ever really good at.
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