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" This is a state-of-the-art, morphogenetic template "
— [?] as some scientist, Face/Off

MRQE Top Critic

The East

The East emerges as an exciting piece of filmmaking from the independent scene’s hott —Matt Anderson (review...)

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NOTE: Director Kevin Smith’s humor is often crude, and to describe it one often has to use some of those words you can’t say on TV. If you are offended by “those” four-letter words (and others), do yourself a favor and don’t read this review. The films I will walk out of are few and far between. Case in point was Kevin Smith’s 1999 trash-heap Dogma. Dogma raised a fair amount of controversy for its childish, self-indulgent mingling of the Catholic Church and constant fecal humor. For me, the film established a new low standard for filmmaking.

It’s not that I have anything against going after church, state, or any other institution, for that matter. It’s just that as I sat there in the theater, I wondered how many of the people “up in arms” had actually watched the film. Its inane story and ridiculous script made any of the film’s “commentary” seem like a sidebar. Beyond all of that, it just plain wasn’t funny. I didn’t walk out, but I wanted to.

Expectations

Silent Bob (Smith) and Jay (Mewes) prepare to strikeNeedless to say, expectations for Smith’s newest film were pretty low.

Granted, Smith rightfully deserves his status as a DIY hero after piecing together Clerks (a commercially successful flick about -you guessed it - clerks in a convenience store) on a meager $27,000 and a pile of credit cards. And Chasing Amy (a quasi-serious study on love, lesbianism, and maturity) was actually a damn respectable flick.

But Smith also spends an inordinate amount of time make jokes about being gay, farting, and taking a dump. He seems pretty well aware of how juvenile his characters can be, but it doesn’t really make the jokes any funnier, or the serious props he gets from the indie crowd any more justified. Far more talented directors have done much funnier work with shit for a budget (check out any of the beautifully atrocious crap put out by Troma for an example).

Nonetheless...

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back turned out to be pretty funny.

The plot surrounds Smith’s perennial stoners Jay (Jason Mews) and Silent Bob (Smith himself) attempting to get to Hollywood to stop the filming of a movie based around their lives. They figure that if they keep the film from being made, ass-hole online critics (i.e. me) and kids in chat rooms with foul mouths will quit smearing their names.

Along the way to Hollywood, they get picked up by a slew of self-professed “bad girl clich├ęs” on their way to steal a bunch of diamonds in the world’s finest location - Boulder, Colorado (woohoo!). Problem is, the girls need a distraction for their intricate heist.

Enter Jay and Silent Bob, who are conned into stealing a monkey from a nearby animal testing plant (in Boulder?). The plan goes awry and Jay and Silent Bob are on the run - finding love, buds, and Scooby Doo along the way to Hollywood. Besides the trip to Boulder, the plot was predictably (and intentionally) stupid, but somehow still funny.

Luckily, Smith ended up using his massive budget on cool cameos more than on dumb special effects (i.e. Dogma’s Golgotha Shit Monster) and it pays off.

George Carlin, Shannon Doherty, Chris Rock, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck all return for their regular appearances. Affleck and Damon actually spend a fair amount of time ridiculing the low moments of their own careers, one of the cooler moves I’ve seen in a while.

Mark Hamill (the Cock Knocker) and Carrie Fisher (a nun in danger of undergoing Jay’s cunnilingus) also pop up in cameos, as do directors Gus Van Sant and Wes Cravens.

Embracing the Dork

Despite admittedly hoping this film would suck so I write a really scathing review (I reaaaallllyyy hate Dogma), I just can’t. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was a mildly funny, quasi-intelligent movie with a lot of interesting cameos. Considering the wide variety of pap that passes as comedy on the big screen as of late, that’s saying something.

Besides that, I have to give Smith all credit for being able to fulfill his sci-fi loving, comic-book readin’ geek fantasies on the big screen. Somebody ‘s got to do it, and he seems to be having fun.

P.S. Don’t take your kids to see this unless you intend on explaining to them what “toss the salad” or “cock- knocker” means.

  • Matt: First of all, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is an awesome film i mean it has lots of fucking funny parts like the parts where Jay first meets Justice and he begins to dream about her and then he gets a boner lol that is such a great part especially where he sees Sissy, Missy and Chrissy and he says " dude i think i just filled the cup" that is really funny and where he starts raving about the c.l.i.t. I think also that it isnt 'Mildly Funny' i think that it is fucking awesome!!!! god damn! either you needed a whaz whilst the good parts where on *which might i add must have been one long whazz seeing as the entire film was full of good parts* or you took the wrong tablets in the morning and fell asleep lol.
    By Matt .P. February 5, 2006 reply
  • linny: you shouldn't take yourself
    so seriously -

    it was a funny movie
    the fact that you walked
    out on it shows

    you lost all my respect when you
    wrote this:

    " Despite admittedly hoping this film would suck so I write a really scathing review"

    i don't care if you like them or their movies - you made your point

    you still have to pay
    us for bending over backwards
    to get you a truck/ or at the very
    least a small discount

    i thought what your wife said was a slap in the face

    please make every effort to come in on friday to make your payment

    we will talk to the one way returns in the morning

    xo



    i want to start a gambling
    pool- to see when this one
    returns and replies ;>




    July 10, 2006 reply
  • Emily: 4 times. I've seen that movie 4 times, and it wasn't enough. It was so funny, that even after 4 times in the theatre, it kept getting FUNNIER. I don't know what kind of a horrible person you are without so much joy in your life, but I'll let you know: It's a really nice thrill to know happiness. I'm sorry, you're picky, right-winged outlook on entertainment has ridden so far up your asscrack that you cannot experience joy any longer. I hope you didn't grow up like that because that would have been a drab childhood. I'm guessing you never read comics either, you probably thought they were joyless plods into the depths of our sub human humorless minds or something like that, huh? If you did collect comics, then you'd realize that Kevin Smith is every fanboy's hero. He actually MADE it big. He got what we all want. Success. You know how? By selling his comic collection (what every comic collector holds true and dear to their hearts, mind you) to make a poorly put together movie, i.e. Clerks, that TROUNCED the competition through Amatuer Film Fests. It became mainstream, and thus his fandom was born.

    Next time, before you rip into another one of the man's projects, why don't you give the guy some slack. He's succeeded FAR better than you have, what with your horribly pathetic little flame site here. That and people actually like him. July 31, 2007 reply
  • Marty Mapes: Thank you! Thanks for the well-spelled, gramatically correct, thematically cogent jab. I love it when I'm actually wrong and worth the trouble of a genuine retort. Emily, you're a breath of fresh air. By the way, my mom thinks I'm cool and funny and liberal and not joyless. ;) July 31, 2007 reply
  • Marty Mapes: Duh! Now I see that I didn't even write this review. Why couldn't you have picked on ME! July 31, 2007 reply