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Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back

Juvenile humor doesn't get any younger than in this vulgar, cameo-laden in-joke of a road picture about a couple of New Jersey stoners who set out to halt a movie production in Hollywood.


Story…story…oh yeah, the...story? Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are a couple of New Jersey stoners who find out Miramax is making a movie based on the comic book featuring their pseudo-selves, Bluntman and Chronic. They might be cool with that except they aren't getting any of the profits, so the two head cross-country to Hollywood with hazy plans to put a stop to the production. As they hitchhike their way across America they hook up with, among others, George Carlin; a nun who'd rather not participate in oral sex with hitchhikers, thanks; Shaggy and the gang in the Scooby-Doo van; and a catsuited gang of sexy jewel thieves posing as animal rights activists, Sissy (Eliza Dushku), Chrissy (Ali Larter), Missy (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith--the director's wife) and Justice (Shannon Elizabeth).


Acting…acting…oh yeah, the…acting? Writer/director and Silent Bob character Kevin Smith has said he's retiring both Jay and Silent Bob, and moviegoers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief for never, let's hope ever, having to be subjected to loudmouth Jason Mewes again. Although they've turned up in the background of all of Kevin Smith's films, this is the first to feature Jay and friends in the lead, and Strike Back demonstrates a little goes a long way. For what may be the first time, Elizabeth comes off endearing and sympathetic as the kindhearted Justice, Jay's innocent, glasses-wearing love interest who gets walked on by her three heist-happy friends. Dushku pulls off the same tough-as-nails-chick role you've seen her do on Buffy the Vampire Slayer--not a stretch but fun nonetheless. Best cameo bits? Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's delicious riff on Good Will Hunting; also watch for Chris Rock's show-stealing appearance near the end.


Has Kevin Smith, eccentric filmmaker extraordinaire, FOM&B (Friend of Matt & Ben), gotten---gasp---stale? His Clerks was refreshingly funny, and his Chasing Amy hilariously insightful. Strike Back, unfortunately, is nothing but clumsy filmmaking, mugging at the camera and hammy-to-the-point-of-embarassment cameos (uh, Will Ferrell...George Carlin...), not to mention a never ending and tiresome string of dick jokes and toilet humor. Couldn't Smith, who trots out an ensemble cast other indie filmmakers couldn't even dream of, think of anything better for them to do than let them chew the scenery in skit after lame skit? Although there are bits of distinct comic genius in this film, they are few and far between, and bits of distinct comic genius in this film, most of it the movie is too self-referential (and foul) to appeal to a mainstream audience. If you've always loved Kevin Smith's films, you won't be disappointed, but you'll probably feel left out if you're not already in on the joke.

Bottom Line

It's the end of the line for Jay and Silent Bob…and not a moment too soon.