A review of  Jay and  Silent Bob Strike Back” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: R for non-stop crude sexual humor, strong language and drug content

Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

 

How can you not worship the man who created “Chasing Amy” and “Clerks”?  I do.  There’s certainly something to be said for a rude, crude, and repugnant project that manages to exude an aw-shucks sweetness in spite of itself.

How rude, crude, and repugnant?  A tutorial for Jay and Silent Bob virgins:  Jay is a loud-mouthed stoner, and Bob his silent, taciturn partner-in-crime. The pair have appeared in all four of Smith’s movies, usually in brief, and always with a devil-may-care (read: stupid) slacker cool.  Now Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and director Kevin Smith) have their very own movie, behaving as their irascible, obscenity-spouting selves and demonstrating the groovy Zen of hanging out at the convenience store.  When the two get the boot from their New Jersey Quik-Stop haunt (in the form of a restraining order), the guys are (horrors) forced to find something to do. A casual mention of a movie project based on their comic-book alter-egos Bluntman and Chronic sets visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads.  If the comic book is based on them, and the rights to the comic were sold for the movie, isn’t there some serious bank waiting to be had?

Road trip!  Off to Hollywood to halt the production of Miramax’s comic book extravaganza.  Along the way, our boys get themselves in a heap o’ trouble, hooking up with the sultry, sexy, girl group Coalition for the Liberation of Itinerant Tree-Dwellers - C.L.I.T for short.  For Jay, it’s love at first sight with group member Justice (Shannon Elizabeth), and he’ll do just about anything to get inside her pants.  Including releasing imprisoned animals from a Colorado testing facility, where, coincidentally and right next door, the girls (Justice, Sissy, Chrissy, and Missy) have staged a daring diamond heist.

This is a hit-and-miss affair, targeting moviegoers of lowball taste and cult sensibilities. Smith’s filthy dialogue is guaranteed to offend, while inspiring surreptitious giggles. The  bathroom humor is and always will be supremely tasteless, but the relentless homage to actors (Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, etc.), film staples (“Planet of the Apes”, Miramax, “Star Wars”), and pop culture (the Internet) are fiendishly clever.  Wicked cameos of everyone from comedian George Carlin to director Gus Van Sant skewer a vast variety of personalities and careers – many of them side-splittingly funny.  Trim running time feels longer than it should to occasional storyline drag and more-than-occasional flat jokes. Still, in the annals of movie history, Jay and Silent Bob are heroes, and everyone loves a hero.