By: Addison Wylie
My admiration for Kevin Smith comes and goes. If there’s one trait of his that I’ll always appreciate, it’s his choice to help up-and-comers in the film industry. Smith helping out Matt Johnson with his incomparable indie The Dirties is an excellent example of his compassion towards a new generation of storytellers. Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is another one of these projects.
Smith has stated that Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is very much Jason Mewes’ baby. The actor famously known for playing mumbling New Jersyan stoner Jay in Smith’s comedies decided to try his hand at producing a film. Smith handed him a self-written adaptation to his comic Bluntman and Chronic, and away Mewes went.
The director of Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is another newbie. Steve Stark, a Canadian animator who’s assisted Smith before, gets his first crack at helming a 60-minute feature with this animated film. His beginner flaws are seen through the jilted obedience towards the film’s repetitive foul visual gags and the crude animation, but there’s only so much an amateur can do when under corresponding shabby supervision while working with a script written by a self-centred fool.
The idea of newbie filmmakers being taken care of by Smith, a filmmaker who was once in their shoes, is a benevolent gesture. Problems start to arise, however, when Smith’s own stubborn ego inflates and blocks any kindness he’s providing.
Smith’s screenplay is chalk full of sex jokes, drug digs, nudity, gratuitous talks about lesbians, superhero references, and puns brought back from past movies in the View Askewniverse. Let’s focus on those reused jokes. While I watched Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, I realized just how important delivery is with a joke. When I see Jay act out the vulgarities in live action flicks, there’s a quality of dopey entertainment in the stoner’s stupidity. When Mewes barks out cusses and slang in an animated expressionless form, everything about it is piggishly unfunny.
If you’re a fan of Smith’s past comedies, you expect this type of crassness. TIme has not been kind to the yuckster’s brand of humour. Smith’s knack for coarse language and juvenile bodily jabs has simplified itself to poorly used dirty words. There’s no craft or creativity behind it. Just words you’d find sprawled across high school locker room toilet stalls. Even the self-aware inclusion of recognizable superhero characters and clichés aren’t built on. The film thinks the mere mention or sight of these things should evoke gales of laughter.
But, Smith knows how flawed he is. And, he’ll let you know this through paused segments of the movie. Every so often, an animated Kevin Smith will pop out and explain the shabbiness. Because, y’know, someone explaining why a joke is supposed to be funny is more clever than watching it play out.
It’s tough to see Mewes and Smith – who used to be at the top of their own smart-aleck game – stoop to new lows with this washed-up film. Smith may have stayed far away from this project (he only provides his voice and the shoddy screenplay this time around), but his influence looms over every element of the production. Mewes’ producer experience is squandered since he doesn’t know how to handle these characters – despite him playing one of these roles for nearly his entire career – and Stark just so happens to be pulled in by the stinky sinkhole.
Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is a botched and bungled failure to connect with nostalgia or to introduce new possibilities for Jay and Silent Bob’s cult status. Who knew it could take 60-minutes to soil a decade’s worth of memories?