Jay & Silent Bob Reboot

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes reprise their self-made iconic roles, New Jersey’s infamous stoners Jay and Silent Bob, in Jay & Silent Bob Reboot.  While the film is certainly fan service, the results are funny, off-the-wall, and – dare I say – sweet.

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot follows in the same footsteps as the duo’s last headlined endeavour, 2001’s Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.  But, then again, that’s the point.  Just as he did in 2001, Smith (who wrote, directed, and edited the film) holds a mirror up to the film industry and pokes fun at Hollywood’s shameless rhythms.  Smith even turns the target on himself to make jokes about selling out.  The movie begins peeling back layers when Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) lose their identities to an upcoming reboot of Bluntman and Chronic, a flop that featured their caped crusader alter egos.  After receiving word that the film will be shooting a climactic scene at Hollywood’s Chronic-Con, the Red Bank boys hit the road to put a stop to the film.

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot is so self-referential that the film almost creates its own feedback.  I understand Smith needing to “up the ante” by taking meta humour to a whole other level, but he almost loses his grip by making himself a character in his own story.  The self-deprecating jokes are clever when other characters are commenting on him, and Smith is a good sport by being so over-the-top as a wishy-washy cog in the Bluntman and Chronic machine.  But during the third act, Smith’s on-screen persona gets so carried away with self-obsessed qualities that it fogs the finale.  But, alas, the lack of logic is part of the joke (the abrupt cutoff to the madness reminds us not to take *any* of this too seriously), and while the movie boils down to an absolute gong show, I ended up admiring how Smith confidently swung for the fences.

While his films aren’t directly autobiographical, Kevin Smith’s more personal work seems to relay existential topics.  The meta jokes are good for what they are, but the most surprising factor of Jay & Silent Bob Reboot is how the film undercuts its goofiness with sentimentality.  A side story featuring Jay getting chummy with his oblivious long-lost daughter Milly (Harley Quinn Smith) broadens the aspirations for a character that seemed to have a shallow future.  This is taken further during an out-of-the-blue wraparound to Smith’s Chasing Amy, where an extended cameo returns to flip the script and teach his former sidekicks a lesson.  These moments teach us that while it may be a popular choice to relish the past, it’s best to look forward and challenge ourselves.

Kevin Smith has gone on record about putting his original universe of characters – the View Askewniverse – to rest.  Jay & Silent Bob Reboot shows his integrity to that promise, but also shows that it’s still possible to write a few more chapters.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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