Jersey Girl [1992]

Jersey Girl stars Ben Affleck as a workaholic music executive who loses his wife (Jennifer Lopez) in childbirth and has to raise his newborn daughter with the help of his crotchety New Jersey dad (George Carlin). The movie unspools as if writer-director Kevin Smith, normally a highly self-aware filmmaker (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma), set out to put a fresh spin on every cliché he could imagine (parent forced to choose between child and career; parent rushing to attend school performance; etc.)--then forgot to put in the spin. The scenes that aren't lifeless are implausible (Liv Tyler plays the fantasy girl of every awkward boy's dreams). The only real feeling comes from the strong soundtrack. However, Raquel Castro, as the daughter, is an uncanny double for Lopez; when the light plays across Castro's cheekbones just so, you'd swear the casting director simply shrunk Lopez for convenience. --Bret Fetzer

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