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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

July 22, 2016

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Director: Kevin Smith
Actors: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Shannon Elizabeth

330 (330×185)

Synopsis: Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) head off to Hollywood when they discover that the film based on their cartoon alter-egos – Bluntman and Chronic – has led to a tidal wave of negative opinion on the internet.

Review: Kevin Smith came a long way in seven years. Back in 1994, with a budget of only $27,575, he set about making his debut feature Clerks, yet by 2001 and his fifth feature, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, he had Hollywood well and truly dancing to his tune. Perhaps therein lies the problem, because evidenced by Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, that startling ascendancy created a very indulgent, bloated and unchecked filmmaker.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is so far removed from Clerks‘ concentrated scope and sense of ingenuity, and though it earns the odd chuckle on occasions, it’s essentially just an elongated and largely pointless spoof movie designed only to glorify Smith’s own hermetic movie-world. One of the film’s most nauseating features is that there are only so many times Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith et al can self-deprecatingly break the fourth wall to joke about how commercial the film is before you realise it’s just apologism or ‘hiding behind humour’ from the fact that it actually is! By the time Smith’s utilised a character looking ‘ironically’ into the camera for the second time – and we’re only at the fifteen-minute mark in the movie – you know it’s going to be a long two hours.

Talking about Smith, his role as Silent Bob has also changed substantially for the worse. Where in Clerks, he truly lived up to the moniker “Silent Bob” apart from one choice monologue and a hilarious dance scene, in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith mistakenly revises his character as almost like Muttley to Jay’s Dick Dastardly – continually gesticulating and miming to the camera akin to a clown. Silent Bob functions much better when he’s the deadpan, impassive slacker to contrast Jay’s hyperactivity and foul mouth.

Arguably the best part of Jay and Silent Bob is the opening coda set outside the convenience store in New Jersey – detailing Jay and Silent Bob’s ironic genesis as babies into the adult slackers they were destined to be. Sadly, the rest of the film’s canvas of lame skits, wall-to-wall profanity, in-jokes and numerous celebrity cameos betrays the truer merit of the movie. (July 2016)

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