Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Directed by Kevin Smith

Although I like Jay and Silent Bob’s relatively brief appearances in Chasing Amy and Dogma, I find an entire film of them a bit much. The crude humour is funny when used sporadically, but an entire movie of it feels like an unending locker room experience or frat party.

Mind you, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back isn’t really made for me. As Roger Ebert points out, people either love or hate this kind of thing. While I don’t hate it, I do find the vulgarity tedious after a while.

On the upside, Smith seems to be a more disciplined director here. This seems on odd thing to say given the film’s rambling, road journey premise. But the pacing seems better and while the overall movie seems self-indulgent, the scenes themselves do not. (The deleted scenes on the DVD give an example of how some excess was trimmed. By the way, the intros to each deleted scene are WAY too long and pointless. They seem primarily intended as filler to justify a second disk.)

Generally, the film seems to be a movie for the sake of making a movie. It feels as if Smith has decided to make something for his core fans based on their two favorite characters because he really didn’t have anything in particular he really wanted to do. In other words, this ain’t no Chasing Amy.

Some of the criticisms that appear to follow every Kevin Smith movie is that they are self-indulgent, maybe excessively self-referential, and generally lacking in disciple. These are all true of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (the movie is more disciplined in its construction and editing, but not in terms of the script). So I think it would be interesting to see what kind of movie Smith would make with someone else’s script.

It would also be interesting to see what he would create outside of the context of the Smith world; somewhere removed from his establshed characters and core fans. I think he’s a much better director than he allows himself to be and these may, in some ways, handcuff him.

The DVD of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a top quality transfer, good audio and so on. However, as mentioned above, the two disks seem unnecessary. As with other Smith DVDs, there is far too much pointless gigglng and chattering about nothing at all. It’s amusing to a point but, as with Jay and Silent Bob, only in small doses.

What Smith really needs is an editor.

© 2002 Piddleville Inc.

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