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Review: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Kevin Smith’s latest comedy is compact, rambling, and consistently funny.

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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Photo: Miramax Films

Kevin Smith’s latest comedy is compact, rambling, and consistently funny. This is a jaded Hollywood-themed lark in the style of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (a red bike is Smith’s wink to Burton). In the film, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are stuck in the Jersey boondocks, oblivious to their influence on pop culture: Bluntman and Chronic, a new Hollywood film adapted from a comic book based on their superhero misadventures, is being made without their consent, but while it’s shamelessly aware of itself as a kind of Hollywood satire, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back never takes itself too seriously. The Bluntman and Chronic film is celebrated on a website called Poop Shoot, Smith’s nod to Harry Knowles’s online talkback hot zone, where legions of sniveling prepubescents feel empowered by the expletives they shoot off and the anonymity afforded to them by the Internet, and in the film’s funniest scenario, Jay puts one of these faceless dweebs in their place. Smith can occasionally lose himself to parody (a Scooby Doo bit sticks out like a sore thumb), but Jay and Silent Bob is remarkably consistent and funny for what amounts to a 90-minute sketch comedy. Smith leaves no Hollywood stone unturned: The inexplicable presence of orangutans and chimps throughout the picture are his nods to market research while Chris Rock grapples with racial representation on the big screen via a pro-white slavery diatribe. Smith both celebrates and apologizes for adolescent male behavior, and in one scene Silent Bob is referred to as Jay’s “hetero life-mate.” He’s Smith’s representation of the sensitive heterosexual male, a voiceless warrior willing to admit that there may be something more to his friendship to the odious Jay. Does it come as any surprise that GLAAD has decided to sink its claws into Smith’s witty film (certainly his best work since Clerks) while it extols Showtime’s offensive soap opera Queer as Folk for its supposedly authentic representation of gay culture? GLAAD could use guys like Smith—incurably straight yet honest enough to ridicule bad straight male behavior.

Cast: Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Shannen Doherty, Renee Humphrey, Ben Affleck, James Van Der Beek, Jason Biggs, Matt Damon, Joey Lauren Adams, Shannon Elizabeth, Carrie Fisher Director: Kevin Smith Screenwriter: Kevin Smith Distributor: Miramax Films Running Time: 104 min Rating: R Year: 2001 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

“Tell the truth but tell it slant”
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