Picks and Pans Review: Jersey Girl

updated 04/05/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/05/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Raquel Castro, George Carlin, Jennifer Lopez
ROMANTIC COMEDY

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Remember Baby Boom, the delightful 1987 movie in which Diane Keaton's yuppie single gal became a better person after taking on parenting duties for an infant girl? Jersey Girl is a saccharine copy, with Ben Affleck parading his sensitive side in the Keaton role. He's a pushy Manhattan publicist who, in short order, loses his wife (Lopez) to childbirth and then his job. He moves back to New Jersey with his barfly dad (Carlin) and wastes years moping over his fate and new job as a garbage man. (What, there are no PR jobs in Jersey?) Finally his daughter (Castro), now a precocious-verging-on-obnoxious 7-year-old, steers him straight. Affleck is better than he has been in his recent action roles, and Tyler is likable as a new gal in his life. But this kind of treacle gives sugar a bad name. (PG-13)

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