Released: 11th March
Seen: 31st July
Sometimes you want a movie that challenges the way you think, that presents a complicated idea in a palatable form that’ll make you examine your viewpoints on an essential element of the human condition. Sometimes you want a movie that might have a complex story filled with twists and turns that breaks the rules of cinema itself and presents a new way forward for the cinematic arts… and sometimes you want a movie chock full of puns, dick jokes and slapstick that’s just throwing shit at the wall in hopes that something sticks, aka you want to watch the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
In Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) learn that their alter egos Chronic and the Bluntman have been bought by Saban Films, which means that Saban Films now owns the names Chronic, Bluntman, Jay and Silent Bob. Yep, due to flimsy and silly reasons Jay and Silent Bob have to go to Hollywood in order to get the rights to their names back. Along the way they end up picking up a group of girls, including Milly (Harley Quinn Smith) who is secretly Jay’s daughter and she doesn’t even know it, while also running into everyone who said “I’m available” when Kevin Smith called them. There’ll be puns, weed, fourth wall breaking and a lot of references to previous Kevin Smith work.
From the moment the film begins, two things become abundantly clear. The first is that the people making this film are really just trying to have a good time and do whatever it takes to make the audience laugh, with mixed results. The second is that this isn’t really a film, or even an actual reboot of the franchise, so much as it’s a celebration of 25 years of this one auteur director’s career, a love letter to the fans of this strange little cinematic universe. As such, this film probably works a lot better if you’re a huge fan of the View Askewniverse and can catch all the references being thrown out.
Being very reference heavy does present a problem for casual viewers, there’s a lot of jokes here that I could see being told right in front of me but since I didn’t have the context, they didn’t work for me. Luckily that’s not the only kind of joke on offer here, I’m a sucker for a fourth wall break and this movie does that a lot. The cameos are used really well, either to make a particular reference or just for the absurdity of who agreed to do what (Chris Hemsworth as a hologram is why we need to keep working on that technology). Even some of the more slapstick moments land pretty well… unless they heavily rely on you caring about anything that happened in Jersey Girl and you haven’t seen that film in a while so the details aren’t there, then there’s a problem.
As for the main plot… let’s be honest, it’s basically there as a cheap excuse to put the two main characters in a car and explain why they’d end up at a comic convention. The entire mission of “Let’s go get our names back”, never really stops them repeatedly calling themselves by those names (why bother? People paid to hear those names said again and again, no sense in denying them that) and there’s no real resolution to it. At best the overarching story is about parenthood, namely Jay coming to terms with being a father… but let’s be real, this is mostly just about going “Oh my god, 25 years of Kevin Smith movies, oh my god”.
Considering this is mostly just a big party thrown in Kevin Smith’s honor, it’s fine. If you even mildly like some of his films then Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is probably going to have something to at least put a bit of a smile on your face. Hell, I tend to think the opening courtroom scene alone is funny enough to be worth the price of admission alone. This film just proves that there’s still a lot of gas in Kevin Smith’s tank and he can still make you laugh whenever the hell he wants to, even if he is mostly making you laugh by reminding you of jokes he told a decade ago.