Yes- the front shock does make for a smoother ride- I have one on my two cruiser builds- and one I've had for awhile- a trash find- I'm debating on putting on the one that doesn't-
they add a little bit of weight, but I'm not taking the bikes up a flight of stairs like I used to
a shock seatpost is a plus too.
also- personally, I'd probably lose the front derailleur- I see guys get it to work, but you could uncomplicate things without it, and if the chainwheels aren't stamped toigether, maybe lose two chainrings as well as the derailleur and cable and shifter.
I used to have rear derailleurs on the builds, but finally went with single speed freewheels with a light gear and I match the chains with half links if I have to- and easier done on the pedal chain.