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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Reviewed by Jason Myers, ©

Format: Movie
By:   Kevin Smith (Writer, Director)
Genre:   Comedy
Released:   August 22, 2001
Review Date:  
RevSF Rating:   10/10 (What Is This?)

To be honest, I went to this movie prepared to be slightly disappointed. Sure, I laughed all the way through the preview the first time I saw it, and even after the fourth repeat viewing, Jay's Wayne's Worldish fantasy of making out with Shannon Elizabeth never failed to crack me up. Still, it looked as though Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back could have been named Kevin Smith Goes Completely Hollywood. Had Smith finally lost his magic touch? Chasing Amy was a bit heavy-handed. Dogma was thoughtful and fun, but overwrought, and it was about twenty minutes too long (man, that Wizard of Oz ending DRAGGED). And Clerks: The Animated Series deserved to be cancelled. (For the record, I saw nothing wrong with Mallrats. Those who laughed all the way through that movie, stand up and be counted.)

Would Jay and Silent Bob be a flaming flatulent mainstream end to the brilliant world Smith introduced us to in Clerks? I feared that Jay and Silent Bob would be full of madcap comedy, broad slapstick, blatant parodies, shameless stuntcasting, flashy special effects, and enough oral sex jokes to make the Wayans brothers blush. Thing is, I was right. The movie has all of those things, and it all works perfectly.

Jay and Silent Bob rule!

In the movie, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) find out that Miramax (HehHeh) is making a movie based on the comic book Bluntman and Chronic, whose characters are based on Jay and Silent Bob. They don't like what the dirty stinking webzine denizens (HehHehX2) are saying about them on moviepoopshoot.com (a website, by the way, which you can actually visit), so they vow to put a stop to the movie.

Quick note to those unfamiliar with Kevin Smith's New Jersey films (also known as the View Askewniverse): (1) This is not a movie to take your kids to. Hell, this is not a movie to take your parents to. The shear crudity of Jay and Silent Bob makes American Pie look like an episode of the Care Bears. (2) If you haven't seen Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma, I suggest that you go rent them. Now. Right now. RIGHT NOW!

Okay, maybe you don't have to have seen Smith's other films to enjoy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but it'll sure help. The movie is one long in-joke. And while many of the in-jokes are for movie fans in general, there are a lot that will go right over the head of the uninitiated. Jay and Silent Bob features scads of characters from Smith's other films. I've seen all four previous films, and I'm sure that I still missed a bunch of references.

There is so much going on in this movie. Allusion stacked upon allusion. Third-wall breaking. More cameos than an entire season of The Simpsons, including someone from virtually every WB show on the air. Even people you don't even know show up (Paul Dini, the guy behind Batman: The Animated Series, has a cameo. And why is there a guy in a Daredevil costume?). Also, in true comic book fashion, we also get to see "The Origin of Jay and Silent Bob."

The movie is so full of winks and nods that it might turn some people off. But Smith is a postmodern Renaissance man, like the guy down the street who can tell horribly off-color jokes, endlessly debate the finer points of the Kirk vs. Picard dilemma, AND make references to early 19th century poets.

Smith has often been accused of being juvenile and self-indulgent. But I think that's part of why he's gained such a loyal following. He's an inspiration to sci-fi and comic book fans everywhere who are still trying to figure out how to hold on to their adolescent obsessions… er… hobbies, and get paid for it to boot. I mean, you can't tell me that Smith didn't cook up that whole movie within a movie thing as an excuse to fulfill his lifelong dream of actually getting to fight a badass lightsaber duel with Mark Hamill. Of course, it's Jason Mewes (as Jay) who, with Carrie Fisher, comes *thisclose* to acting out the one fantasy that Star Wars fans think about more often than lightsaber battles.

And now a word about Jason Mewes. He is one of the funniest men on the planet. It's amazing to me that Mewes has managed to take his one-note bit part in Clerks (which was thrust upon him because he was childhood friends with Kevin Smith) and turn it into one of the most hilariously memorable movie characters ever. I don't know if Mewes can actually said to be a talented actor (Smith has noted that Jay is just an exaggerated version of Jason Mewes' real-life persona). But there can be little doubt that he is not only the star of this movie, but also, strangely enough, its honest emotional center. I sincerely hope that we have not seen the last of Jason Mewes.

If you stick around in the theater until the credits end, you'll see God (a.k.a. Alanis Morissette) closing the book on the ViewAskew universe. And that's what Kevin Smith is doing with his cast of New Jersey characters. Saying goodbye. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is like a big family reunion, which is a blast, but it's also the last family reunion, and, as the movie wound down, I found myself getting oddly depressed at the thought that there will be no Return of Jay and Silent Bob or Jay and Silent Bob: Attack of the Clones . Smith has said that he wants to move on to other things. He is probably wise to retire Jay and Silent Bob. But damn, I'm going to miss them.

P.S.: Kevin, about that "Clerks deserved to be cancelled" crack: just kidding. Please don't come to my house and beat the snot out of me.


If you put a cap and a coat on Film/DVD editor Jason Myers, he looks disturbingly like Jason Mewes.

 
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