Worth A Look: 21.26%
Pretty Bad: 8.66%
Total Crap: 9.45%
11 reviews, 188 user ratings
|Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
by Scott Weinberg
I can't tell you all how much I was looking forward to seeing Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. As a longtime supporter of Kevin Smith and his films (despite only really "liking" two of his four earlier films), I was anticipating a non-stop machine-gun report of shocks, mugs and helpless peals of laughter.I was mildly disappointed.
"The Internet? What the Fuck is the Internet?!?!?"
Obviously still under the assumption that dirty words and gestures automatically equal high comedy, Smith seems more interested in making his latest feature more raunchy than his previous works without necessarily making it more funny. But why whine? Yes, the groans-to-laughs ratio in this comedy is about 5:1, but when those stronger jokes do hit, you're in for a solid giggle.
For the first time in Smith's "New Jersey" series, Jay and Silent Bob are thrust to the forefront of the action. In the previous films (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma), these two were mainly relegated to background pratfalls and several solid comedy bits. But what made those characters so enjoyable in the earlier films was that they weren't the main course. For the most part, these characters do their best work when they're just the side dish.
Jay and Bob are quite distressed to learn that the comic book baring their characters is about to become a major Hollywood production. Armed with this knowledge and very little intellect, the duo set off for the West Coast to either A) stop the movie from being made or B) get paid, baby. Along the way, the audience is treated (subjected?) to a barrage of movie references, "in-jokes" and bits of dialogue that only hardcore Askew-philes will catch.
Yes, this is a road trip movie. By nature, road movies are rather episodic affairs, as the film is generally comprised of different characters and incidents popping up every ten minutes. For the most part, these are the weakest components in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. People like George Carlin, Carrie Fisher and Judd Nelson show up to deliver precisely zero laughs. On the other hand - Will Ferrel, Sean William Scott and Eliza Dushku go above and beyond in delivering some of the best non-Jay gags.
Because if there's one person who is front and center in this movie, it's Jay Mewes. I'm not saying the guy isn't funny, because he definitely is. This is an actor who knows how to deliver a raunch line for maximum comic effect. It's just that the Jay character is so one-note and unrealistic. As intermittently hilarious as Jay is, he's not the guy to build an entire movie around.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck show up in multiple roles, partially to drop some clever jabs at one another and the movie industry, and mostly to show what a great sense of humor they have about their careers. Jason Lee appears in two roles and although both characters add up to about 7 minutes of screen time, any Jason Lee sighting is worth a look.
As a quartet of sexy and mysterious activists, we are offered three young actresses (Ali Larter, Eliza Dushku and Shannon Elizabeth) and Kevin Smith's wife (Jennifer Shwalbach). It's unfortunate that the subplot involving these gals takes up so much time in the movie, as it's just plain boring. (To be fair, I will say the Schwalbach is A) more attractive and B) a better actress than Shannon Elizabeth - who gets waaay too much screen time in this movie!)
If you're the kind of movie fan who's listened to all four Kevin Smith DVD commentaries and you can quote the best gags from Clerks on demand, then here's a movie you'll probably enjoy. Every 15 minutes something truly hilarious does happen. It's just a shame you need to sit through so many lame-duck gags to get them.
If you're among the "easily offended", do not even consider seeing this one, as apparently nothing is off-limits. While most of the verbal gags center around "fags" and a very specific part of the female sex organ, there are handfuls of jokes that are just plain old dirty. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but this movie makes Eddie Murphy's Raw concert look like Bill Cosby's Himself concert.
I fear now that I should lock my front door, as (towards the end of the film) Jay and Silent Bob show their proclivity for beating up "Internet Critics" who dare to criticize their exploits. Perhaps if this movie were better than just a dozen good gags, we wouldn't have as much to complain about.
But just like you shouldn't criticize McDonald's for their quality of meat, it's not really fair to judge Jay and Silent Bob as classic cinema. Despite the numerous gags that thud audibly onto the soundstages (why Mark Hamill, WHY?) , there are more than enough funny bits to warrant a visit. Plus you have to reserve a small amount of respect for a movie that is so joyously vulgar in these whitewashed, PC times we live in. Smith fans should see it immediately. Normal movie fans can wait for the video.
(The title of this review is one of Jay's best lines in the film. It's delivered perfectly and is a precise illustration of the world-view Jay is privy to.)Hardcore View Askew fans can bump the three star rating up to a four.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4714&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/10/01 12:27:13