Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kevin Smith retrospective - JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (2001) - Affleck, you the *bomb* in Phantoms yo!

Jay: This isn't fair. We came to Hollywood, I fell in love. Fuckin', we got shot at, we stole a monkey, and I got punched in the motherfucking nuts by a guy named Cock-Knocker.
Banky: You know what? I feel for you boys, I really do, but Miramax - you know, Miramax Films - paid me a shitload of money for Bluntman and Chronic. So it occurs to me that people badmouthing you on some website, is NONE OF MY FUCKING CONCERN!
Silent Bob: Oh, but I think it is... We had a deal with you, on the comics remember, for likeness rights, and as we're not only the artistic basis, but also obviously the character basis, for your intellectual property, Bluntman and Chronic. When said property was optioned by Miramax Films, you were legally obliged to secure our permission to transfer the concept to another medium. As you failed to do that, Banky, you are in breach of the original contract, ergo you find yourself in a very actionable position.
Jay: Yeah.

After the religious satire cum road movie that was DOGMA, Kevin Smith kicked back with his highest-budget movie to date, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. Although they are very different in tone and aspiration, the two movies actually share the same structure. After all, what is JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK if not a Hollywood satire cum road movie?

The plot of the movie is, once again, very simple. Jay and Silent Bob realise that Miramax is making a comic book movie based on characters based on Jay and Silent Bob. So they head to Hollywood to get their cut of the proverbial phat cash. Along the way they engage in a bunch of shenanigans that allow Kevin Smith to have a giant love-in with all his favourite actors. As such, any hope of actually satirising Hollywood is neutered. It's hard to land a sucker-punch when you're fisting the head of the studio.

For all that, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK is arguably more entertaining than DOGMA insofar as it panders to the fans' desire to be part of the "in-joke" and namecheck the cameos and movie references. Some of the skits are genuinely hillarious - not least the early scenes with Jason Lee in Brodie mode and later scenes with Jason Biggs. And, as far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much of Jason Mewes' inspired pot-head stylings. But, unlike MALLRATS, which is also a flawed but occasionally extremely funny movie, I haven't revisited JAY AND SILENT BOB in a long while. It's the classic problem with parodies - no matter how well done, they age horribly.

Or maybe I'm just playing into Smith's post-modern move with my rancid stylings?!*.

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK was released in 2001 and 2002. It is available on DVD replete with extras.
*Banky: That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously. Stopping the flick isn't gonna stop that.

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