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   JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (2001) 

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CAST
Kevin Smith
Jason Mewes
Shannon Elizabeth
Jason Lee
Ben Affleck
Will Ferrell
Eliza Dushku
Ali Larter
Chris Rock
Jeff Anderson
Matt Damon
Brian O'Halloran
Sean William Scott

DIRECTED BY
Kevin Smith

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 100 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy


I know, you probably didn't take me for a Kevin Smith fan, especially since I usually hate mindless comedies. However, there's just something about the desperate, pathetic, potty-mouthed losers that populate his films that make me laugh out loud. I didn't hold out high hopes for intelligence here, but I had a feeling I would come out of the theater with a smile on my face. I wasn't sure if he could sustain a feature length film on these two hysterical, yet usually supporting characters. Jason Mewes is a funny bastard, but up until now his foul mouth and homophobia have been kept to a minimum, used as punctuation. Smith is the only filmmaker to employ this young man for a very good reason – he's not a very good actor. Though I find his string of expletives more than make up for that fact. No one curses better than Mewes.

The fact that Smith was also able to get everyone from all of his past films to appear in this "wrap-up" of life in Jersey, says a great deal about the respect these now famous actors have for the so-called visually stunted director. His film's may not have great style, but they have great characters in unique situations you are sure to never forget. Two of those are Jay and Silent Bob. Jay is an ignorant, walking hard-on who talks a mile a minute, cursing up a storm and offending all women in a 30-foot radius. Silent Bob rarely, if ever, speaks but he doesn't have to. His expressions let you know exactly what's going on inside that burly body. When he does speak, look out. They live their lives quietly, selling and smoking pot outside the local Quick Stop convenience store, spouting off about their favorite movies and music.

However this time, their obnoxious behavior finally gets them banned from hanging out there. Rudderless, they go to the comic store only to discover that a movie is being made featuring Bluntman and Chronic – comic book super heroes fashioned in their images by their old friends Holden (Affleck) and Banky (Lee) (see CHASING AMY). Realizing that they're due some serious dough, they visit Holden to get their check. Unfortunately for him, Holden has nothing to do with the property anymore, but helps them discover what's happening with the film via the Internet, an invention these two stoners have never heard of.


"That's what the Internet is for, slandering others anonymously."

Incensed that they are hundreds of strangers out there, slandering their good names, they decide to storm Hollywood to shut the film down and restore their honor, as it were. Without wheels of their own, they are forced to rely on the kindness of strangers to help them get from Jersey to Los Angeles. After several misadventures, Jay enamors himself with Justice (Elizabeth), an animal-rights activist who offers to give them a ride to Colorado. Her three companions – Missy, Chrissy and Sissy – are disgusted by her interest in such an obvious loser, but agree to let them stay, if they help with their plans. It's clear that Jay will do anything for the chance to sleep with Justice, so he and Silent Bob pull off their little heist, freeing an orangutan with whom Bob quickly bonds.

Unfortunately, this gets them into tons of trouble, but not for the reasons they think and separates Jay from his newfound love. With their eye back on the initial plan, they hightail it to the Miramax lot with the police in pursuit, where more crazy antics ensue. The last third of the film is filled with so many self-referential and movie spoof moments that it's hard to keep track. Suffice it to say that Jay and Silent Bob manage to wreak havoc with the film and its big name stars but not in the way one would think. In the end, they find not only love and become rich movie stars, they regain respect from the world...one ass-whooping at a time.

JAY AND SILENT BOB is certainly Smith's wackiest film, though it has the biggest production value of any of his pictures. It's a visual 360 from CLERKS, but closer to that film's verbal style and story structure than any of his later efforts. There's a lot less story and heart, but a ton more laughs. Smith is unafraid to skewer himself and his films, bringing some of the biggest laughs at his own expense. The Hollywood sequence is a laugh riot, both bitingly clever and physically silly. The mid-section of the flick seems contrived merely to place four gorgeously thin women in catsuits. Though I have to admit I haven't seen such funny moments with an orangutan since Clint Eastwood partnered with Clyde.

The cursing and the dick/homosexual jokes wear thin by the middle of the flick, but other than that I have no real complaints. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a brilliant movie, however, it kept me laughing pretty consistently and for that, I give thanks. I have to give credit to the Weinsteins, owners of Miramax, for continuing to believe in Smith. He busts their balls throughout this movie, so they must have great senses of humor. Or maybe the cash makes it worth the trouble. Either way, if you're a fan of Smith's work, you'll enjoy this flick. For the uninitiated, I'd start with CHASING AMY or MALLRATS and work your way up the ladder of offensiveness. JAY AND SILENT BOB really only works if you've seen the rest of his movies. Without the in-jokes, it would be pretty obnoxious and unwatchable. Though Smith's now completed his Jersey series, I hope he still continues to make films. No one tells stories like he does...which may or may not be a good thing. I admire him for speaking his mind and pushing the envelope, even if this time around it's more retarded than inspired.



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