Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) / Comedy-Adventure
MPAA Rated: R for strong crude and sexual humor, pervasive strong language, and drug content
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Shannon Elizabeth, Eliza Dushku, Ali Larter, Will Ferrell, Jennifer Schwalbach, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Will Ferrell, Judd Nelson, Chris Rock, Jeff Anderson, Seann William Scott, Jamie Kennedy, Mark Hamill, Marc Blucas, George Carlin (cameo), Carrie Fisher (cameo), Jon Stewart (cameo), Tracy Morgan (cameo), Gus Van Sant (cameo), Wes Craven (cameo), Shannen Doherty (cameo), Joe Quesada (cameo), Paul Dini (cameo), Joey Lauren Adams (cameo), Alanis Morissette (cameo), The Time (cameo), Jason Biggs (cameo), Matt Damon (cameo), James Van Der Beek (cameo), Linda Fiorentino (cameo)
Director: Kevin Smith
Screenplay: Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith's (Dogma, Chasing Amy) fifth film was intended to be his last in the microverse (aka, the View Askewniverse) of Jay and Silent Bob, who appeared as characters in his four previous films, though he would return back to it after the less-than-stellar results of the Jay and Bob-free Jersey Girl with 2006's Clerks II. While their characters are clearly one-dimensional, limited mostly to sex and pot-related humor, Smith pulls out all stops, wisely sending them on a road trip, where they meet and interact with a ceaseless variety of funny characters to exchange banter with It brings a much-needed freshness into what could have been tedious fare. Smith's mission in this film is not to make us think, care, or be inspired; his sole mission is to make us laugh. For fans of his previous films, Smith delivers.
The film starts with Jay (Mewes, Mallrats) and Bob (Smith) being served a restraining order for dealing drugs in front of the convenience store (as seen in Clerks). Outside of their usual realm, they venture to visit Brodie (as seen in Mallrats) who informs them that the comic book characters based on them, "Bluntman and Chronic", is being made into a movie. They visit the comic's creator Holden (Affleck, Pearl Harbor), and learn of the intense negative internet buzz created by the anonymous flamers on the internet. The duo do not like being talked trash about. They set off to Hollywood in order to put an end to the movie's production and keep their "good names".
If you are a fan of Kevin Smith and have seen all of his films, you will probably enjoy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back much more than those unfamiliar due to the many in-joke references and cameo appearances by the characters from his previous films. Others may find much of the humor hit-and-miss depending on their respective senses of humor, and will probably be confused as to the character references and allusions to gags in previous films.
Strike Back is rife with toilet humor and penis jokes, some funny and some just bad, so be warned. Luckily, the wit of the film keeps the overall humor level well above water, and there are plenty of clever surprises along the way. Smith does imbue the film with consistent energy and juvenile gags that are laughter-contagious, especially clever during the opening and closing scenes. (On a personal note, from a Funk-lover's perspective, any film with an homage to The Time is going to be OK in my book).
Sure to please Smith's fans, and perhaps gain him a few new ones, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is his most crass film, but if you're of like mind, also one of his funniest.
©2002, 2007 Vince Leo