Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Joke Is On The Audience . . . But We Wanted It! Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back

The Good: Funny, Allusions, Character progression
The Bad: Predictable, So much was cut!
The Basics: Funny and enjoyable for movie buffs and people who enjoy Kevin Smith's movies, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back ages well.

Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is one of those films that people tend to take or leave and they take it if they enjoy Kevin Smith's prior works (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma) and leave if they haven't seen or didn't enjoy Smith's previous works, this one is certainly not going to get people to watch his films. The 2-DVD set is pretty much the best argument ever for DVD short of The Criterion Collection DVD set of Brazil. The magic of the DVD is that there's a whole second film of Kevin Smith et al. introducing cut scenes from Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back.

Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is a hard sell, so I won't try to sell it to those of you who haven't seen Kevin Smith's prior works. If you haven't seen Clerks, Chasing Amy, or Dogma, go see at least one of them and then come back to this. This film is appreciable if you know the players involved.

Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back follows the exploits of Jay and Silent Bob from New Jersey through Hollywood. The plot is simple; the pair has a comic book based upon them and when they learn there is a film being made of their characters, they discover the internet and criticism there. So, the pair heads to Hollywood under the logic that if the movie isn't made, no one can badmouth them. It's solid logic from stoners. Once you accept that, you're fine. The rest of the film is the caper of Jay and Silent Bob falling in with a group of diamond thieves, losing them, and getting to Hollywood.

Criticizing Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is as stupid as those two yo-yos that went and sued the makers of Duce Bigalow, Male Gigolo (or was it The Animal?) because there was a faux reviewer who recommended the film. If you go to see a Rob Schneider flick, you're not expecting high brow or, if you are, you're an idiot. Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is a stupid film making fun of stupid films being made. It's stupid, but it doesn't have the pretense of being anything more. So, why should the audience?

My theory is, we shouldn't. Accept the premise and you'll enjoy it. The film makes hilarious pokes as sequels and how lame they usually are, they mock themselves and other works expertly.

The real gem of the DVD is watching the film and then going through the bonus disk for all of the additional stuff that is packed on there. The whole commentary on the cuts scenes was easily more funny than the actual film and worth the price of the DVD alone. The different clips are great.

Here Kevin Smith makes a satire of the people he has worked with and it's amusing to see Ben Affleck and Matt Damon make fun of themselves while also playing other characters they have played in Smith's earlier films.

One of the surprises here is the quality of the acting. Ben Affleck convincingly plays Holden from Chasing Amy in a cameo early in the film as well as creating a very different character in the parody of himself. Similarly, Jason Lee's presence in the film as both Banky Edwards and Brody is strangely unconfusing; his physical appearance is not significantly altered between the two roles, but he actively portrays them as different people and he successfully sells them.

While many would applaud Will Farrell as Marshal Willenholly, I think he's simply being Farrell as a Federal Wildlife Marshal and if you've seen Farrell in a few roles, you've seen his range. He does nothing extraordinary here. However, Shannon Elizabeth is great as Jay's love interest, Justice. She is more than simply a pretty face and a body here; she's actualized enough to keep our interest for the film.

The acting talent that dominates Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is Jason Mewes. Most of the airtime is his and here he recreates the quirky, angry, foul-mouthed drug dealer we've known from the other films.

This is not a film for the young. It's hilarious, but it uses a lot of harsh language and foul sexual references. It's not a terribly intellectual film, but it is one that those who despise pop culture will appreciate a lot: many recognizable faces from today's popular culture appear to do parodies of their more serious work.

If you want a treat and you've enjoyed Kevin Smith's other works, there's no better way to cap off the adventures of Jay and Silent Bob than this. And as a hint, stay through the end of the credits. :)

For other movies by Kevin Smith, please visit my reviews of:
Chasing Amy
Clerks II
Cop Out
Red State


For other movie reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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