Monday, January 20, 2020
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Review
I feel everytime I write about Kevin Smith I wind up having to defend my fandom of Kevin Smith. In the 90's and early 2000's, I was a huge Kevin Smith fan. I obviously own all the movies, I have listened to the director's commentary on all the DVD's, I supported the Clerks: The Animated Series, and would argue to the death with people on the greatness that is Chasing Amy.
But there comes a time when I grew up and I thought Kevin Smith would, too. If you listen to the commentary track on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith is very clear that this movie would be the last you would see of Jay and Silent Bob and that he was moving on to bigger and better things. And I felt that this was the move. At a point, dick and fart jokes have a shorter self life and you and the characters you created need space to grow. And I was all in with Smith and his first post Jay and Bob film, Jersey Girl, I saw in the theater with my wife. Whether you liked the film or not( I did), the movie was a chance for Smith to spread his wings as a writer and director. The film was not a box office success and there are probably a variety of reasons for that; most notably Bennifer( Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez had become toxic in Hollywood at that point). And not surprisingly, Kevin Smith got spooked and scared and retreated back to what he knows best.
Now look, certain people in Hollywood do this all the time. They find a lane/genre and stay in that lane for the bulk of their careers. How many bumbling idiot Adam Sandler movies are there? Martin Scorcesse is still making gangsta movies, and don't get me started on Tyler Perry making oppressed Black women movies for the entirety of his career. However, staying in ones lane doesn't offer much room for growth as a filmmaker, and Kevin Smith's work post Jersey Girl is filled with underwhelming raunchy comedies like Zack and Miri Make a Porno, to safe place films like Clerks 2. And his two forays into "different" movies were odd at best with Red State and Tusk.
Which leads us to Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Now if you are a fan( and again I am), you know this movie and the podcast that proceeded it, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, are really a congratulations for Jason Mewes. Mewes struggled mightily with drugs in the late 90's and 2000's; to the point where it was even reported that he died. Smith, hoping to keep his friend straight, offered up the podcast and if he stayed sober, a chance to star in another Jay and Silent Bob movie. Thankfully Mewes has been clean and this movie is the payoff.
The problem is its just not a very good payoff. Look, I saw Clerks in my 20's and now I am in my late 40's. And the thing is, I love a good dick and fart joke but those jokes have to be earned. It can't be going for the cheap laugh at every turn and this movie does that. The writing isn't smart or clever and literally many of the jokes are lifted from the previous movies. While its great to see Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and even Joey Lauren Adams, it just feels tired and uninspired. The plot is nonsensical, with Jay and Bob headed to Hollywood( again) to stop the reboot of the movie made about them 20 years ago. So the movie becomes a Road Trip movie as Jay and Bob reconnect with characters from the previous movies; which essentially happened in the OG Jay and Silent Bob. Look, there is something to be said about your life coming full circle and gaining proper perspective in your life as you get older. And you see glimpses of that in the film with Jay and Bob, but only glimpses as the movie just moves on from one celebrity cameo to the next never allowing itself to become anything more than Kevin Smith and His Amazing Friends.
No one. Absolutely no one is going to watch a Kevin Smith movie and expect to be blown away by his filmmaking or artistry. You go to see characters that you grew up with have fun and do and say stupid shit that you used to say when you were dumb and said stupid shit. And if you love Kevin Smith and all he does, I am sure you will love this movie. But if you are like me, someone who loved Kevin Smith, you will watch this with a sense of nostalgia and sadness watching someone who has not only not left childish things behind, but has refused to grow up in a way that would be meaningful for himself and his beloved characters. See you around for the Clerks 3 and Mallrats 2 reboots! Snoogin's!