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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Kevin Smith) 2001

I remember reading something that Kevin Smith posted on the internet once in response to P.T. Anderson's Magnolia. I'm not quoting directly here, but basically he said he hated that PTA spend $35 million in studio money to make a film that was so personal. He complained that filmmaking was no place to work out personal issues, especially if the money that was used to create that film came from a studio. He called that irresponsible, selfish, and not fair to the audience.

Then he made Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (with lots of studio money, of course). This film is nothing if not a director working out his personal issues onscreen. Furthermore, Kevin Smith's apparent concerns are nowhere near as interesting as PTA's nor is he adept at expressing them in this film as Magnolia is for its auteur. What I'm basically saying here is that Kevin Smith is a no-good hypocrite. 

I should pause and say that I actually tend to like Kevin Smith movies. He seemed to be on an upswing of late, as well, so I could certainly respect his opinion when he originally made the statement that he did. Nonetheless, his latest film is not only guilty of the self-indulgence that Smith claims to hate, but it is also a film that seems to hate its audience. More than a few times, Smith rallies against obsessive fans of his films (especially those that comment about his films on the internet). Behind the guise of the Jay and Silent Bob characters and a gob of irony, this film is really quite nasty and mean spirited.

The film is a road trip comedy that follows its protagonists from New Jersey to Hollywood (where Miramax is inexplicably located). There are sporadic mildly amusing scenes to be found, but most of the humor regards a mortal fear of blowjobs or bodily functions. The film's less scatological attempts at humor (like its Charlie's Angels parody) seem dated, and can be found done better elsewhere (such as Scary Movie 2). The film fails even if one doesn't hold Smith accountable for his comments. So, to Smith, who seems so obsessed with internet flames that supposedly "don't matter" that he would devote an entire film to them, here's one more for the bonfire.

*

September, 2001

Jeremy Heilman