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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Raunchy spoof goofs on Hollywood, slacker duo
By Bill Muller
Republic Film Writer
Aug. 24, 2001 12:00:00
Like an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back works on two levels: one for Kevin Smith aficionados and the other for slacker-adventure fans, who groove to Beavis & Butt-head and Bill and Ted.
Those familiar with Smith's series of cult films first met Jay and Silent Bob standing outside the Quick Stop in the black-and-white classic Clerks. The duo returned as an ersatz Greek chorus in Smith's "New Jersey Chronicles," which include Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma.
This time around, the two recurring characters have their own movie, and they take square aim at Hollywood, spoofing everything from Planet of the Apes to Charlie's Angels to Scooby-Doo. Although it helps to have seen a few Smith films, the movie is funny either way.
Jason Mewes returns as Jay, the politically incorrect, pot-smoking social commentator who serves as Smith's irreverent mouthpiece in the film. Smith himself plays Silent Bob, Jay's constant companion, who, as his moniker suggests, hardly ever utters a word.
In one hilarious sequence, Smith finally reveals the origins of their friendship. He then flashes to the present, as Jay and Silent Bob learn that Hollywood is planning a movie about their comic-book alter egos, Bluntman and Chronic.
Although slightly interested in cashing in, the boys are really hacked off because news of the movie has prompted Internet geeks to make fun of them. Intent on silencing the cyberchatter, our two heroes set out on an odyssey to stop the movie from being made.
They're soon sidetracked when they hitch a ride with an all-girl gang posing as animal activists. After persuading Jay and Silent Bob to kidnap an orangutan, they set them up as patsies in a jewelry heist, and the duo find themselves the subject of a massive slacker hunt.
On their trail is Will Ferrell, who does a funny turn as Game Warden Willenholly, apparently a tongue-in-cheek Smith reference to Land of the Lost, the campy live-action kids show of the '70s.
Along the way, we're treated to a celebration of all things Smith, as Jay and Silent Bob run into characters from his other films, who return for some sidesplitting cameos. Smith managed to coax back some big talent from his earlier movies, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Rock, George Carlin, Jason Lee and a host of others.
Affleck and Damon have a good time making fun of themselves on the set of a supposed sequel to Good Will Hunting. There's also a funny bit involving James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek) and Jason Biggs of American Pie, who whines about always being associated with that movie's trademark scene.
Smith also rounded up a lot of the young talent around Hollywood, including Shannon Elizabeth, Seann William Scott, Eliza Dushku and Ali Larter.
Consistent with his Star Wars theme, he cast Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in the movie. Fisher plays a nun and Hamill plays the archenemy of Bluntman and Chronic, whose name probably shouldn't be printed in a family newspaper.
For that matter, the movie is pretty raunchy all the way around, and the large number of gay jokes has already prompted some criticism. But it's really just Smith staying true to his characters (Jay is a confirmed homophobe) rather than exercising any real bias.
Even if you've never heard of Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a great way to meet him.
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