Criticism

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

jay-silent-bob-strike-back

Some gay groups are rankled over Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the final installment in director Kevin Smith’s “Jersey Chronicles.”  Granted, the film could almost qualify as a 90-minute gay joke, but only the most militant of homos (with absolutely no sense of humor) could possibly be offended by the imbecilic antics of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), the two snootchie-bootchie goofballs who have appeared in all of Smith’s feature films thus far. Besides, gays aren’t exactly singled out; this movie is definitely an equal-opportunity offender.

You needn’t be an authority on Smith’s filmography to enjoy J&SBSB, but if the names Dante, Brodie, Banky or William the Idiot Manchild don’t ring any bells, you might find it worthwhile to rent Clerks, Mallrats, or Chasing Amy before heading to the theater. J&SBSB reunites actors and characters from each movie, and in some cases, actors who played different characters in those films perform multiple roles in J&SBSB.

A combination road movie/stoner flick/comic book fantasy/spoof, the plot of J&SBSB is incredibly thin.  But Smith surely knew nobody would be seeing this movie for the story; the loveable potheads Jay and Silent Bob are the main appeal here.  Upon discovering a movie is being made based on comic book characters they inspired, the two leave their beloved Quick Stop and head for Hollywood to thwart the film’s production. Unlike Smith’s last film, the sophisticated Dogma, there’s no highbrow humor here, just a steady stream of potty humor.  No fart joke is too crude, no boob joke too juvenile for this sophomoric duo.  (Still, it’s far more clever than the similar but inferior Rat Race).

The film’s all-over-the-place wackiness includes Mark Hamill as an evil superhero named Cocknocker, the Scooby Doo gang, a Charlie’s Angels parody subplot, a kidnapped orangutan, Carrie Fisher as a “hairy-bushed nun,” a Planet of the Apes spoof, dead-on digs at internet geeks (check out the fake movie website made for the film – moviepoopchute.com), and plenty of mildly venomous jabs at Hollywood, including several pokes at Miramax, the movie’s distributor. The sheer volume of gags coming at breakneck speed ensures that even when some jokes fizzle, a belly laugh isn’t far off.  Smith has assembled a veritable Who’s Who of Comedic Greats in an endless procession of cameos and bit parts, with everyone gamely winking (sometimes literally) at the audience. And despite the gay rabble-rousing, it turns out the hypersexed Jay might actually be a cocknocker himself; watch for his Freudian slip and decide for yourself.

(Appeared in HX Magazine)

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