Acclaimed writer-director Kevin Smith returns to the silver screen with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Dimension Flims), a hilarious comedy that serves as the final chapter in the saga of his famous trash-talking slackers from New Jersey.
Smith broke into the film industry with his independent feature debut Clerks, the now famous tale of a day in the lives of two slacker convenience store employees. The film established Smith as a filmmaker with a brilliant ear for witty situations and unmatched dialogue.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back yields center stage to Smith’s well-known characters Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), two drifting miscreants who stole the show as recurring characters in his past four movies. The film focuses on the inseparable duo as they discover that a feature film is being made for their comic book Bluntman and Chronic without their knowledge or permission.
Jay and Bob, who served as the inspiration for the characters in the comic and movie, are disturbed not only by this breach of copyright but also by a slanderous campaign that surrounds the characters.
Jay and Silent Bob take it personally when people insult the movie and characters based on them. The pair decides to head to Hollywood to stop the movie from entering production.
Their journey across the country draws up hilarious situations and encounters with equally comical characters that rise above the average movie road trip.
What drives the film are cameo appearances and references to Smith’s past features, sweetening an already clever film for Smith’s hardcore fans. Almost every actor from Smith’s previous films makes an appearance, most appearing as the same characters. A number of the jokes refer to unforgettable moments in his other movies, from the chocolate-covered pretzels in Mallrats to the lesbian lovers of Chasing Amy.
A laundry list of Hollywood actors drop by as well. Ben Affleck (Pearl Harbor) and Matt Damon (All the Pretty Horses) – both close friends of Smith – play themselves in the film. James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”) and Jason Biggs (American Pie 2) also play themselves, appearing as the Jay and Silent Bob’s movie counterparts in Bluntman and Chronic.
Other guest stars include George Carlin (Dogma) as a hitchhiker who teaches the pair the “rule of the road,” SNL’s Will Ferrell as an inept wildlife marshall and Mark Hamill, still just as blue-eyed as when he appeared in the Star Wars trilogy, as the duo’s arch-enemy in Bluntman and Chronic.
Beyond paying homage to Smith’s other works, the film serves as a throwback to critics of his style. The film makes fun of itself and its crudeness even as it pokes fun at a hypocritically conservative Hollywood.
Smith understands that much of the humor in his latest effort is juvenile and even stupid, but the movie carries a smart irony through its own self-criticism. The film does not claim any true message or even originality, making tongue-in-cheek references to films such as Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, and E.T. Much of the movie’s theme centers on getting back at people with pretensions or problems with Smith’s work.
By going over the top with its vulgarity and utter silliness, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back proves itself to be a masterful satire.
Viewers unfamiliar with Smith’s past work may have trouble grasping much of the film’s humor. Anyone who has never seen a Kevin Smith movie may be lost in the sea of characters and inside jokes that long-time fans will find hilarious. But the film still contains plenty of slapstick comedy and enough drug and sex jokes to keep a novice happy.
Fans of Smith will rejoice at another triumph for the director and marvel at seeing their favorite characters portrayed once again, while those still unaware of Smith’s “brand of whimsy” should be in for a great time as well.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is in theaters now