ROMANTIC COMEDY JERSEY GIRL (12A) 102min 0000 Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) - every grebo mallrat fan boy’s wet dream - has sold out. Or so it seems in the first 20 saccharine minutes of Jersey Girl. These moments make you wonder whether he has made a film for Disney rather than its supposedly more edgy offshoot, Miramax. Gone are the trademark comic book references, fart jokes and quirky off beat dialogue. Smith instead threatens us with a second rate rerun of Three Men and a Little Lady, as the ‘Bennifer’ media profile that saturates the opening scenes (like baby vomit staining your favourite shirt), ends with Lopez dying in childbirth.

The film fast-forwards eight years and Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) has moved back to his dad’s (George Carlin) house in New Jersey as the duo do their best to raise young Gertie (the excellent Raquel Castro).

Just as all hope is lost and you feel compelled to wipe away the tears of lament for the demise of Smith’s sense of irony, Affleck tries to rent out a porno in the local video store without his daughter noticing. The magic words uttered in the


lt would come as no surprise to switch on Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes and hear US actress Lindsay Lohan squeal: ‘Tonight. Matthew, I'm going to be Molly Ringwald.‘ For Lohan is forging a hugely successful acting career out of playing the uncool fish out of water that John Hughes, the doyen of high school teen movies. tailor made for his red- haired muse in Sixteen Candles. Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. Lohan has obviously done her homework because in Mean Girls she graduates from being the young pretender to the new, undisputed queen of the teen.

The 17-year old starlet is the conduit through which Saturday Night Live gag writer turned screenwriter Tina Fey equates the social mores of high school with Darwin's theOry on the survival of the fittest. Mean Girls' back stow

fig evin Smith’s ironic hymn to his Jersey Girl

same sentence - Kevin Smith and video store - and it’s masturbation time. Through Liv Tyler’s video clerk Maya, Smith reveals his true self and sticks two fingers up at his doubters. Tyler, in a role she was born to play, delivers a mesmerising performance whose monologues match the best from Clerks or Chasing Amy. Through her relationship with Affleck it becomes apparent that Smith’s opening salvo

sees Lohan thrown out of the fire of the African jungle into the frying pan of that temple of one upmanship. the

American high school. The academically intelligent but socially dim-wilted Lohan makes the classic teen movie error by trying to be in with the in crowd and discovers that life being part of top girl clique the Plastics is not so easy. Her metamorphosis resembles that of Winona Ryder in Heathers. ensuring Mean Girls plays like the messed-up love child of filmmakers Hughes and Michael Lehmann in their 803 incarnations, which is like sooo in. (Kaleem Aftab)

I General release from Fri 78 Jun.

28 THE LIST 10—24 Jun 2004

Getting in with in crowd

(15) 98min .0

“Off-camera, off-guard' is the mantra of Sean Veil (Lee Evans). a man terrified of not being filmed. Ever since he was accused of murdering a mother and her daughters some ten years earlier. the reclusive Veil has video-taped himself around the clock, so that he has a permanent


was itself an attack on the conventions of the rom-com genre. It is the move of a filmmaker mastering his art and as Richard Linklater demonstrated with The School of Rock, the best US directors working today play the Hollywood game while urinating on Tinseltown’s fetid corpse. A gem that is bound to be misconstrued. (Kaleem Aftab)

I General release from Fri 78 Jun.

Surveillance and exoneration


record of all his movements. But the obsessive Detective


Inspector Emeric (Sean McGinley) has been tipped off that Veil was responsible for the killing of a prostitute. and the tape that would exonerate him has been stolen from his personal archives. But can the television journalist (Rachel Stirling), who seems to know all about his past. really be

Written and directed by John Simpson (director of the excellent 1997 short Silicone Valerie). this low budget debut feature swiftly squanders an interesting premise of a man under perpetual self-surveillance to become a garbled and illogical thriller. A whimpering. shaven-headed Evans. preSUmably hoping for a One Hour Photo-style vehicle to cast off his comic persona. is left acting in a vacuum, stranded by a screenplay that has no interest in exploring its characters. Shifting between various film and video formats. Simpson favours a stylised. colour-drained aesthetic. but any subterranean atmosphere is dissipated by the ludicrous finale. (Tom Dawson)

I Selected release from Fri 78 Jun.



It’s hard to come into a sequel with lower expectations but miraculously this ridiculous. not to mention unnecessary. supposed comedy- bang bang flick stiffs on every level. Jimmy ‘the Tulip' Tudeski (Bruce Willis) gives up his quiet domestic life to return to his killing shenanigans at the urging of his old pal Oz (Matthew Perry). after his wife Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge) is kidnapped by the Hungarian mob led by make-up heavy ham Lazlo (Kevin Pollak).

Perry gets mob deep for another yard

Howard Deutch (Grumpier Old Men) directs with such clumsiness it's surprising he isn't part of the asinine line of on-screen thugs that Cross in and out of the film. Willis seems to be taking the John Travolta route by allowing his agent to choose for him the worst possible roles (look at your recent output Bruce Bandits. Hart '3 War. Tears of the Sun, beef jerky every one).

Perry acts paranoid while running through his repertoire of off- kilter jokes. Only Amanda Peet offers anything resembling a performance. but unfortunately her character Jill is so unden~nuen.anshe gets to do is to wind out that vaguely racist comedy staple the hysterical moll. Toss in an overbearing score and let's hope that this franchise doesn't go to 1 1.

(Keith Rockmael) I General release from Fri 78 Jun.