Here’s our review of ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot’, which opens in limited release this week along with dates all around the country starting next week…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
One of the reasons Kevin Smith has maintained a cult like following ever since he released “Clerks” 25 years ago is because he always seems to make the movies that he wants to make.
Uncompromising in his vision, Smith has largely eschewed the larger Hollywood machine and instead stuck to the subject matter that mattered the most to him. From a film that followed a pair of college-aged retail clerks to a movie about a pair of renegade angels trying to unmake the world, Smith created the kinds of movies that no one else was really willing to make.
At some point, Smith got fed up with the movie making business and decided to once again create his own road ahead by forging a podcast empire long before every celebrity on the planet was sitting down in front of a microphone and trying to get people to listen to what they had to say. Smith was hilarious and engaging with his audience and that eventually led to him taking his show on the road with live podcasts that packed in concert-sized venues with fans thirsty to hear his take on everything in pop culture.
Eventually, Smith decided to get back behind the camera again but he was no longer interested in doing things in the traditional manner. He made a timely horror film about a group of religious whack jobs with “Red State” and then he decided to take a fake Craigslist ad about a guy looking for a roommate who would be willing to dress as a walrus and turn that into a film called ‘Tusk”.
Smith then decided to carry on his horror-comedy franchise with “Yoga Hosers” — another inspired-by-his-podcast movie that featured his daughter Harley Quinn Smith in one of the lead roles.
Following that movie, Smith began teasing a return to his View Askew-niverse where he created a world where characters from one movie crossover to another long before Marvel made a cinematic universe that cleaned up at the box office (and truth be told, Smith has said candidly that he stole the idea from the comic books he read as a kid, so it’s all come full circle).
Unfortunately, Smith couldn’t get a “Mallrats” sequel launched and his attempt to pitch it as a television series also came up short. He wrote a script for “Clerks 3” but after original star Jeff Anderson declined to return (at the time), Smith stopped plans for that movie as well.
It wasn’t until Smith suffered a heart attack last year that he decided it was time to stop pitching ideas to studios and get back to his brand of filmmaking that didn’t require executives to sign off on his ideas but rather he was going to make the movie he wanted to see and hopefully a financial backer would believe enough in his vision to fund the project.
And with that, Smith released “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” this week in a limited number of theaters with the writer and director starting a nationwide tour next week where he will go city to city to sit with audiences while they watch his latest movie before then conducting a Q&A with his most ardent fans.
If you’re a Kevin Smith fan, he has built the anticipation for this movie to a fevered pitch through his various podcasts and appearances but even if you’re just a casual observer who loved “Clerks” and “Chasing Amy”, this movie is a return to form as he goes back to play his greatest hits — and manages to product his best film since “Clerks 2”.
With that said, let’s get to our full review of “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”…
18 years ago, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” focused on the stoner pair that started in “Clerks” as they sought to stop a Hollywood production of a movie based on their likenesses in a comic book that was first featured in Smith’s film “Chasing Amy”. Hilarious hijinks ensue as Jay and Silent Bob crisscross the United States before finally arriving in Los Angeles where they attempt to stop this movie from actually being completed.
Fast forward to 2019, Jay and Silent Bob are still as high as ever but after they are arrested for opening a covert weed store in their native New Jersey, the pair are hijacked into a court case where they are exonerated on one charge only to unknowingly sign over their likeness rights to a Hollywood studio ready to reboot the old “Bluntman and Chronic” franchise.
So in truly original fashion, Jay and Silent Bob go on a mission to travel from Jersey to L.A. to stop this reboot from ever happening.
ACTING, DIRECTING AND SCRIPT
What seems to stand out in almost every Kevin Smith movie is his writing and “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” is no different. The script is funny yet heartfelt, especially when Smith reunites with characters from many of his past films including a reunion with old pal Ben Affleck, who returns for arguably the best scene in the entire movie.
The craziest part about that scene is Smith didn’t even have it written when he started shooting “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” but after he was able to reconnect with Affleck after not speaking for the better part of a decade, he sat down and wrote out this eight minute vignette that ends up as the real heart of this movie.
Of course, Smith loves to poke fun at himself as well as the rest of pop culture and his take on Hollywood’s constant thirst for reboots and remakes is another highlight in this movie.
As far as the acting goes, Jason Mewes has been playing a movie version of himself for the past 25 years and he slips into that role without any problems. All of the returning actors from Smith’s past movies also highlight scenes throughout the production with this film truly feeling like a big high school reunion — except this is one you’ll actually enjoy.
Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn also manages to steal a couple of scenes in this film as she has really started to find her way over the course of a few of her father’s movies.
As far as directing goes, Smith will be the first to say he’s no cinematic genius but he also seems to get the shots he needs and returning to this material keeps him at his strongest throughout the film.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE MOVIE?
Truth be told, I’m one of those rabid Kevin Smith fans who has stuck with him from his first film to his most recent project while gorging on his podcasts for several years. That said, Smith came up just short of making a truly fucked up horror classic with “Tusk” and while “Yoga Hosers” was almost a return to the dick-and-fart jokes of his youth, it still didn’t quite feel like he was hitting the mark with that movie.
Smith returning to his roots with “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” allows him to hang out with old friends while making his best movie in years. Understand that if you’re a fan of Smith’s past films like “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” or “Clerks 2”, then you’ll feel right at home in “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot”.
If you’re buying tickets to this movie expecting something completely different from Smith then you’re probably going to be disappointed but chances are if you’re sitting down to watch a Jay and Silent Bob film, then you already know what you’re getting and you’ll be more than satisfied.
Smith knows his audience and they love him and that’s why “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” should be his most well received film in more than 10 years. It’s funny, it’s charming and you might even roll a tear during a couple of heartfelt scenes that bring Smith back to his best moments in films like “Chasing Amy” or “Dogma”.
“Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” is in limited release this week followed by Smith’s “Reboot Roadshow” going city to city across the U.S. with the movie then opening in those cities following his appearances.
“Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” gets five out of five on the Skolnick Scale