Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
funny movie, funniest of the year so far. A great, anarchic, swan song
for our two favorite stoners.
Dogma was such an unfunny film that I despaired for Kevin Smith and turned the future of movie comedy over to Trey Parker. In this film, Smith solved the problems that made Dogma such a bad movie, which were:
This time, he brought the entire train right back on track. His trademark monologues are still there, but they are short and funny. The characters are sharply differentiated. The plot is only there as a vehicle for the jokes.
Some of it is the edgiest humor seen on screen in years. For example, people were rolling in the aisles as Jay ranted on about his mastery of the clit, and during George Carlin's turn as a straight hitchhiker who'll give a blow job for a good ride. Hey, you have to - it's in the unwritten book of the road, a theme which is carried through the movie.
It wasn't all raunchy sex jokes, although there were plenty of those. Most of the movie is actually about making fun of Hollywood. The premise is that Jay and Silent Bob are heading to Hollywood to prevent Miramax from making a film about them. They have two good reasons: (1) they didn't get paid (2) the movie is already turning them into public laughingstocks on the internet.
There is some really funny stuff there. I laughed out loud at the scenes from "Good Will Hunting 2," featuring the real Gus van Sant. Van Sant's cameo is matched by fellow director Wes Craven, who was filming Scream 4 elsewhere on the lot. Various other Hollywood types lampoon themselves as themselves, including Shannen Doherty, James Van Der Beek, Jason Biggs ("I know you", Jay exclaims, "you're the guy who fucked that pie"), and Kevin's buddies Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Affleck needs a mini-monologue to make fun of Damon for making pussy films about sensitive golfing cowboys who want to go to Harvard, but Damon only needs to utter two words to shut Affleck up - "Reindeer Games."
Actually Kevin pulled a punch in one of those scenes. When Biggs and Van Der Beek took off their wigs, Jay's first reaction was to look at Biggs and say "You're the guy who fucked the pie." My first reaction was to look an Van Der Beek's early case of MPB and think, "You're bald? What, two weeks ago you were in high school and now you fucking need to simonize your head? What were you, 45 when you were in that show? Look at you, man, fucking Kojak has more hair, and if he were still alive he'd probably be younger than you." Well, I guess ol' Dawson was nice enough to appear in the flick and make fun of himself, so they couldn't push it too far.
Bob exist in their own universe, which exists in two different
parallel dimensions. On the one hand, they run into situations,
characters, and places they have visited before in their earlier
adventures. But it's a post-modernist world, so the fictional
characters also discuss movies in which they have appeared, the
real-life characters discuss the same movies (Affleck, as Affleck,
rips on Damon for talking him into doing "Dogma"), and the
lines cross. For example, Affleck plays a fictional character in
addition to playing himself, and Jay is trying to get into the lovely
drawers of a character played by Shannon Elizabeth, but he asks Jason
Biggs if he ever fucked the real Shannon Elizabeth - "that
Russian chick"- when they were making "American Pie."
Jay and Silent Bob also run into other fictional characters who don't
live in their universe - like the Scooby gang.
Don't worry about the fact that it doesn't make sense. It isn't supposed to. That's part of the humor. It's non-stop gags with barely enough time to catch your breath, and they are mostly original and clever. It's good to remember that's what comedies are supposed to be about - laughter.
Even the mistakes are funny. For example, Jason Lee shows up in the movie playing a dual role. Of course, of all the actors in the known universe, Lee is probably the one least capable of a dual role, and you can't tell the difference between them. Meryl Streep, the boy ain't. No matter what he does or says, he's the whiny-voiced, pontificating, sarcastic guy who sat next to you in trig class and thought he was smarter than everyone else, and who got his ass kicked about three times a week. But the great thing about it is that asking Lee to play two parts is, in itself, a hilarious concept. Of course, if I had Kevin's power, I would have asked Lee to play both Othello and Iago, and I would have had the two characters engage in a conversation to make it clear that there was no difference between them. But then Lee would have known I was making fun of him, and would have ended our friendship. The much subtler Kevin managed to ridicule his friend in a way that Lee will probably never understand except in the unlikely event that he reads this comment!
Sidebar - has anyone ever had as much dialogue to memorize as Jason Mewes had in this film? Since the character is in just about every scene, and talking for two people, and has a case of verbal diarrhea to being with, he has to be challenging the record.
Some reactions to the critics, who obviously didn't "get it" on this movie:
Let me repeat a point I made earlier, and a point which runs through all my commentary since I started writing about movies. One measures a comedy by how funny it is. That's why people call it a comedy. Except for Aristotle. If Aristotle invites you to a comedy, remember you have an appointment that evening to repair your comb.
Although I have to admit that Aristotle's web site has some funny shit.
Listen to the audience. Lots of laughs? Good comedy. Not many laughs? Bad comedy. There's nothing that any snobbish critics or award societies can do to change that. If you don't make people laugh, no amount of great acting, inventive camera work, interesting characters, great plot, and visual imagination can make it a great comedy.
This film is about raucous laughter. It's about raunchy sex and drug jokes and making fun of celebrities and the entertainment industry, so if you read and enjoy our reviews, you're the target market.
Great DVD - maybe four hours worth of stuff not in the film. Something like an hour and a half of deleted scenes alone, plus almost two hours of commentary, plus lots more.
As Jay might say, "Watch it and laugh your nads off, you tubby bitch. It fuckin' rocks, except that fat fuck Kevin Smith didn't put any titties in it. What a pussy."
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