Kevin Smith puts to rest (at least for the time being) the world he created in Clerks, Chasing Amy, and his other films with Jersey Girl, a film very much about growing up and leaving the past behind. While the cast, including regular Smith collaborators Ben Affleck and George Carlin, certainly do the best they can with the material they have been given, Jersey Girl is the kind of film that constantly lets the audience know exactly what is going on inside the characters because they verbally express their motivations. This happens with such regularity that Smith gives the impression he does not trust the audience to figure out what his characters are feeling, but it might be more accurate to say that he was worried about how "his" audience -- those devout Jay and Silent Bob admirers -- would respond to this material. Jersey Girl undoubtedly comes from Smith's heart. He obviously wanted to make a film about parenthood, but while his intentions are pure, his execution is clunky. Stephen Root and George Carlin get a few funny moments, but the game cast is continuously tripped up by a script that feels dumbed down -- a first for Smith. On the plus side, Kevin Smith obviously learned a great deal from having Vilmos Zsigmond as a cinematographer on this film. If he can combine the wit and intelligence of Chasing Amy and Dogma with the camera smarts of Jersey Girl, Smith may finally create the film that will get him the respect he pretends he does not want. For now, Jersey Girl finds the New Jersey native fumbling his way into the second phase of his career.