Posted by Jay n me sitting in a tree at ac92f34a.ipt.aol.com on August 25, 2001 at 10:46:50:
(They also have a nice Kevin Smith page with links, bboard, etc.)
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
by Glenn Kenny
Kevin Smith is—I think he is, I hope he is—too smart, and too aware of his value as a comic creator, to ever come down with Woody Allen syndrome, that unquenchable desire to be taken seriously, which inevitably results in such dubious endeavors as September, Another Woman, and, oh, I don’t know, just about every title that’s in the second Allen DVD box set. Still, Smith does believe he has some things to say that don’t necessarily have to be couched in the Jersey-centric, bodily-function-joke–crazy milieu in which all of his films thus far have been set. Chasing Amy was a nervy, refreshing grapple with the problems of Gen-X romantic love, and Dogma, oddly, was the most theologically literate film made since Eric Rohmer’s 1969 My Night At Maud’s. Nevertheless, they still reveled in the things that give Smith a giggle: Dope-smoking gags, Star Wars references, and two knuckleheads (well, only one of them’s really a knucklehead) named Jay and Silent Bob.
Clearly, Smith’s been having a problem shaking these characters. Remember back in the day, when Clerks, Mallrats, and Amy were supposed to have been Smith’s “Jersey” trilogy? Well, now we’re on film number five, and those two Jersey boys—played by the almost preternaturally obnoxious Jason Mewes and Smith himself—are now title characters. But that’s okay—this is really, really, really the last time. Or so Smith assures us: He’s conceived Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as a kind of purgative, a way to get these guys out of his system. So, unlike Amy and Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has no brief, except to be as funny as humanly possible. Which it is.
A kind of stoner version of a Hope-Crosby road picture, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back throws just about everything “mature” filmmakers aspire to—narrative coherence, character empathy, that sort of thing—out the window in favor of jokes, jokes, jokes. Bodily function jokes, gay jokes, inside jokes—all as over the top as you can imagine. It’s not enough to have Jay and Silent Bob get picked up by the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine while hitchhiking to California, where they want to prevent Miramax Films from making a movie based on Bluntman and Chronic (two characters who were introduced in Amy); no, they have to smoke up with Shaggy, Daphne, Velma, Scooby, and that other schmuck, Fred, and then go all mutely horny when Daphne and Velma start frugging with their blouses off. Yeah, it’s that kind of movie.
Once the duo finally get to Hollywood, the inside-baseball stuff really kicks in. One of the funniest scenes involves them stumbling onto the set of Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season and encountering a bickering Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and a somewhat preoccupied Gus Van Sant. I don’t usually cotton to the celebrities-send-themselves-up school of humor; in its most critically hyped manifestation, on The Larry Sanders Show, the “Look at me! I’m an asshole!” antics of David Duchovny, Jim Carrey, et al. played like self-congratulation disguised as self-loathing. But here, Smith and company keep the antics on a level that’s more Delta House than Postmodernism 101—also, the jokes are better. In fact, as stupid as this movie can get—and it can get plenty stoopid—I laughed until my face hurt. While Smith might intend this movie as a “goodbye to all that” gesture, I, for one, wouldn’t mind another Jay and Silent Bob movie—or four.
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