Directed by Kevin Smith, starring Ben Affleck, Raquel Castro, Liv Tyler, George Carlin, Jason Biggs, Jennifer Lopez, Mike Starr, Stephen Root, Will Smith, Matt Damon and Jason Lee.

If ever there was a film that was mild enough to wash over you with virtually no impact, albeit tugging slightly at the heart strings or grating slightly on the nerves, then this is it.

Ollie Trinke (Affleck) is a high-flying showbiz publicist, living life in New York's fast lane. His wife Gertrude Steiney (Lopez) is equally successful and the perfect accessory for Ollie's glamorous parties. The alarm bells have started ringing already, as the irony of Ben and Jen's real-life parting of ways frays their scenes together. But that's not the downfall of the film: Lopez's presence is shortlived as her character Gertrude dies in childbirth, leaving Ollie to bring up baby.

Cue sentimental single parent meander as Ollie fails to cope with his demanding lifestyle and the prospect of looking after an infant. We haven't seen that before ('Big Daddy', 'Three Men and a Baby' and similar, better executed films). When he is fired for slamming client Will Smith at a press conference, Ollie has no option but to retreat to his father Bart's (Carlin) home in New Jersey, with baby Gertie (Castro) in tow.

What follows is at best a tame journey back to his roots to discover what really matters to him, at worst a sentimental and drawn-out moral lesson that is laid on far too thick. Fans of director Kevin Smith ('Dogma', 'Chasing Amy', 'Clerks') won't be impressed. Come to think of it, not many others are likely to be either - a shame for Smith, who claims that this is his most personal work to date.

The potential to be entertaining was probably there somewhere, but got weighed down in the longwinded dialogue, interjected only sporadically with the odd bit of mild humour. For her part, Castro is adorable as the little Gertie, mature beyond her years, and more than able to upstage Affleck.  Liv Tyler, who plays the obligatory love interest Maya, does create a spark of chemistry, but not enough to redeem this and certainly not on a par with her last partnering with Affleck in 'Armageddon'.

There are a few moments of comic relief, with witty cameos from Will Smith, Matt Damon and Jason Lee and an impressive lap-dog performance by Jason Biggs, but 'Jersey Girl' tries far too hard to make a point and ends up having little impact. If pushed to jump off the fence you'd probably come down on the side of irritating, if you were engaged enough to care.

Lads, don't suggest bringing your girlfriend to this chick flick to gain brownie points. It's unlikely to have the desired effect. Ladies, even Ben doesn't make this worth watching. 

Linda McGee