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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Release Date: 
08/22/2001
Rated: 
MPAA: R
Star Rating: 
5 out of 10
Kevin Smith made a name for himself slapping together an ultra-low-budget comedy based on his experiences jockeying a counter in New Jersey. Clerks was hilarious and, despite some outrageousness, something you could relate to. He then did Mallrats (critically panned, but funny) and Chasing Amy (critical darling and funny), which also contained something close to reality that you could identify with. Then something awful happened: Smith became “cool,” made a few celebrity friends, did Dogma (still a better screenplay than movie), wrote some comics, and lost his teeth (from a writing standpoint, that is) by giving up on anything resembling reality.

With Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith’s content to be a slapstick version of Quentin Tarantino—he brings his own recurring characters and some washed-up celebrities together for a goofy, Cannonball Run–style gagfest. It’s so in-jokey and self-referential it becomes completely formless and often smacks of back-patting. Although there are some funny moments and a lot of spot-on pisstakes (deservingly aimed at the likes of George Lucas, Harry Knowles and his “Ain’t It Cool News” crew, and, primarily, Miramax), you can’t help but wonder if Smith could have been tougher and funnier if he wasn’t so buddy-buddy with everyone.

Still, we can’t criticize a movie too harshly that wears its ridiculousness on its sleeve—and also features Eliza Dushku, Ali Larter, and Shannon Elizabeth in leather catsuits. We laughed, we groaned, we didn’t feel like killing ourselves midway through. For the summer of 2001, that’s a rave.