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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

(2001)

Directed by

Kevin Smith

 Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back Poster

Review by Todd Plucknett

 

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is the 2001 comedy by writer-director Kevin Smith. This film is a hilarious and somewhat mindless effort by Smith, but it does satisfy fans of the director with his trademark dialogue and perfect characters.

This film stars the two hilarious supporting characters in Smith’s previous films Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) This film was supposed to be the final appearance for them (until their “triumphant return” in Clerks II apparently). In this film, the two drug dealing stoners get a restraining order from Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randall (Jeff Anderson), and they eventually run into Brodie (Jason Lee), who now owns his own comic book store. He tells Jay and Silent Bob about the movie in production called Bluntman and Chronic, based on the comic book about their lives introduced in Chasing Amy, written by Banky (Lee) and Holden (Oscar-winner Ben Affleck). They have yet not heard about it, and they suddenly want in on the profit from the movie. They run into Holden, and he shows them a bunch of comments that people have been posting on the internet about how stupid Jay and Silent Bob are. Their reaction: travel to Hollywood and sabotage the movie to salvage their reputation.

On the way to Hollywood, they run across many great characters. They end up stealing an orangutan from a lab because Jay falls in love with Justice (Shannon Elizabeth), a member of a jewel-thief team. They unknowingly stole the animal only to create a diversion for the team to steal diamonds across the parking lot. They are chased by Federal Wildlife Marshall Willenholly (Will Ferrell). While hitchhiking, they meet a hitchhiking master (George Carlin) and are picked up by a nun (Carrie Fisher). In Hollywood, they meet people like Oscar-winner Matt Damon, Affleck, Chaka Luther King (Chris Rock), among others. It is a great spoof of the film industry, but it is often a bit too immature for Smith’s films. It is a great ride either way.

The acting here is decent. Mewes and Smith play their iconic roles well. They are the only real characters that sustain a significant part throughout the film. Some of the biggest laughs come from the characters coming back from Smith’s previous features. These characters include Banky, Brodie, Dante, Randall, Holden, Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), and Hooper (Dwight Ewell). The list of cameos is impressive as well. These feature Damon, Affleck, Shannon Doherty, Fisher, Wes Craven, Jason Biggs, James Van Der Beek, and Gus Van Sant, all playing themselves. There is also a light saber match between Mark Hamill and Jay and Silent Bob, Tracey Morgan playing a Hollywood drug dealer, Judd Nelson as a sheriff, Jamie Kennedy as a stage hand, Jon Stewart as a TV anchor, and the team of thieves (Elizabeth, Sean William Scott, Ali Larter, Elisha Dushku, and Smith’s wife Jennifer Schwalbach). The way that Smith writes all these characters into the film is admirable by itself. To make it actually work shows his true brilliance.

The title is obviously a reference to Star Wars, which is seemingly discussed at some point in great length in every one of his films. The Fisher and Hamill cameos are great. There is also a hilarious scene in which Jay and Silent Bob walk into the filming of Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season. In this scene, Damon and Affleck discuss and criticize each other on their career moves and film a very familiar scene, while Van Sant is sitting in the background ignoring them and counting money, knowing that he is doing it strictly for the pay. Jay and Silent Bob also find the people who are playing them in the movie (Biggs and Van Der Beek), which develops into a very amusing scene. Smith makes the most of all the huge names that he got to have parts in the film. Even the weaker scenes are made tolerable through fine writing and the superb soundtrack that makes the movie even more enjoyable.

The biggest problem with the film, though, is the fact that it is very shallow. It reduces itself to the more immature state that was evident in Smith’s second feature Mallrats. It does have something for almost everyone to appreciate though. It wouldn’t make as much sense if you haven’t seen Smith’s other films, but there are still enough situational laughs to please that particular audience. Fans of Smith will no doubt thrill at the reunion of all these characters. It is so much fun, but it doesn’t have the same charm as films such as Chasing Amy and Clerks. If you are looking to just turn off your brain for two hours and laugh, then this is the movie for you. If not, you will still likely enjoy it. It is a well put together and consistently hilarious comedy, even if it may be Smith’s weakest effort.

Rating:

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