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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Starring: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Director: Kevin Smith
Rated: R
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: August 2001
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: James Van Der Beek, Carrie Fisher, Dwight Ewell, Jennifer Schwalbach, Ben Affleck, Jason Biggs, George Carlin, Shannen Doherty



Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Pity any Internet reviewer who turns thumbs down on this movie. You're likely to be beaten up. Badly. At least that's the message conveyed by the title characters in the most unsubtle way possible in a movie that's as unsubtle and you can find this year and yet, paradoxically, one which demands an audience that's pretty hip about film in general--one which can appreciate self-deprecatory humor and has a knowledge of the output of Kevin Smith, of Miramax studios and of contemporary politics in general.

"Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" can be compared with "Rat Race," yet another film which opened during the month of August which is typically set aside for the release of movies for which studios do not expect a great deal. Both are hilarious IF you're the right audience for them. Both require that you're the sort that can go for foul-mouthed, vulgar pics that do not rely on polished, commercial, beginning-middle-end plotting, rational development and political correctness while "Jay and Silent Bob" in particular will appeal to frequent moviegoers--meaning not those who trudge to the theaters just twelve times a year but those who make pilgrimages fifty to one hundred times or more to the multiplex and to art houses alike.

Budgeted considerably higher than "Clerks" and less anticlerical than "Dogma," Kevin Smith's new movie entertains the concept of intellectual theft. Miramax studios (which, under the name of Dimensions happens to be the same company which distributes this very picture), is about to launch a new film called "Bluntman and Chronic," based on a comic book which, in turn, is based on the characters Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Trouble is that Miramax is going ahead with the project without the consent of the two individuals and without letting them in on a share of the kitty. Further disturbed about Internet flaming by anonymous geeks who are critical of the comic book concepts, Jay and Bob set out from their Leonardo, New Jersey hangout for Hollywood where they intend to enjoin the making the film. On the road the two buddies run into a series of adventures, best of which are with four bimbos who look surprisingly like that babes from "Charlie's Angels" and who convince the fellas that they could use help in liberating lab animals. Their real goal is more nefarious, but the women's operation is in danger of being blunted because one, Justice (Shannon Elizabeth), is falling for Jay.

By the time Jay and Silent Bob reach Hollywood, they are being chased by the local cops and by an agent of the Wildlife Commission. The highlight of the movie occurs inside Miramax studios where the noted distributors of arthouse fare has the guts to impugn some of its own creations and even knock the "idiots" who have paid to see "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Chris Rock shines as a militant and paranoid African-American director who sees racism in the fact that he has not been assigned a black gaffer and is convinced that the white guy who brings him coffee has spit into his cup and has put some "boogers" into the drink.

For all its merit, "Jay/Bob" is not necessarily a step forward for Kevin Smith. Smith's first work, "Clerks," made in 1994 for just $27,000, took us to the same convenience store in which Jason Mewes is hanging out here. Mewes acts well there as he does here--certainly better than do Ben Affleck and Matt -Damon who show up in "Jay/Bob" and whose skits re "Good Will Hunting" simply miss the boat. What's more in "Chasing Amy," Smith renders a more polished piece--about a comic book artist who meets a female counterpart with whom he falls in love until he finds out she's gay. "Dogma," silly but more ambitious, took on more apocalyptic and therefore riskier themes and therefore did not fare so well, but all in all Smith has to date has done no wrong.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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