Writer and director Kevin Smith embraces his warm and fuzzy side with this comedy drama about a man who learns a lot about life and love in the wake of a personal tragedy. Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) is a guy who seemingly has it made -- he has a great job as a music publicist with a major Manhattan public relations firm, and he's madly in love with his wife, Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez). Ollie is very much excited about the fact he and Gertrude are soon to become parents, but Ollie's joy turns to despair when Gertrude dies in childbirth. Emotionally shattered, Ollie isn't sure what to do next, and he and his newborn daughter, Gertie, soon move to New Jersey to live with his father, Bart (George Carlin), who grows tired of playing babysitter after several months. Juggling his career with single parenthood proves to be more than Ollie can manage, and one day he's fired after he bungles a major press event. Unable to find work, Ollie eventually takes a dead-end job in New Jersey's public works department, and devotes himself to his daughter as he retreats from his own life. But after frequent visits to the local video store, he strikes up a friendship with Maya (Liv Tyler), a pretty girl who works behind the counter. As Ollie finally begins to come out of his shell, he's offered a chance to move back into the music industry, but he realizes that would mean moving back to Manhattan -- and Gertie (Raquel Castro), now seven years old, makes it clear she doesn't want to go. Jersey Girl also features cameo performances from Kevin Smith regulars Jason Lee and Matt Damon, and significantly is Smith's first feature not to include Jason Mewes and Smith himself as stoner archetypes Jay and Silent Bob.
by Mark Deming synopsis