Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, 2001, ½ star

Chronic problem

From The Orlando Weekly, August 24, 2001

“A Jay and Silent Bob movie… Who’d pay to see that?” Ben Affleck asks in the new Kevin Smith comedy. The answer: fans obsessed with the “little stoner with bad pronunciation,” as the movie describes Jay, and those wanting to see Smith devolve as an artist.

Billed as the duo’s final film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back takes two degenerates featured only briefly in Smith’s previous films and makes the mistake of devoting a full 90 minutes to them. Jason Mewes, following proudly in the acting tradition of Yahoo Serious and Pauly Shore, reprises his role as pot-smoking, four-letter-word spouting Jay. Joining him once again is Smith himself as Bob.

Picking up where 1997’s far superior Chasing Amy left off, the story centers on the comic book characters of Bluntman and Chronic, which are based on Jay and Bob. Their friends, played as usual by Ben Affleck and Jason Lee, sold the movie rights to Hollywood without first consulting the real-life inspiration for the comic.

Upset over the inconveniences of fame and bad publicity the film would generate, Jay and Bob set out for Hollwood to stop the movie from being made. Along the way, one unfunny, sophomoric adventure after another befalls them while they meet a variety of tired, predictable characters. Some, such as George Carlin, Chris Rock and Matt Damon, have been dredged up from previous Smith comedies, but a slew of other actors are new, either desperate for work – Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher – or working desperately to save Smith’s dismal script.

The biggest surprise is that Jay manages to find a woman (Shannon Elizabeth) stupid enough to fall in love with him. We know that love is blind, but apparently it is deaf too, as Jay can’t come up with any pet names for his new love other than bitch and assorted vulgarities.

Those familiar with Smith’s other work will walk away with a few chuckles, as there are plenty of in-jokes and references to past Jay and Bob moments. But if you are fortunate enough to have avoided Jay and Bob up to now, this film holds nothing for you. Not even the self-deprecating humor and the fun that Miramax pokes at itself are enough to make the film bearable.

Jay and Bob are described in Chasing Amy as “Bill and Ted meets Cheech and Chong.” But at least those characters had some charm, and in the case of the pot-smoking L.A. buddies, an ability to make us laugh at their stupidity. The only positive aspect of Jay and Bob’s stupidity is this is apparently their last hurrah.

After the clever but overrated Amy and Dogma, Smith was mentioned in the same conversation as Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. Now he’s only one step from the Wayans brothers.

Copyright 2001 © Orlando Weekly