Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back (2001) Movie Review

The movie studio, Miramax, started out life as an “indie studio” that became known as a place for independent filmmakers to flock to in order to make their independent films with minimal “studio” interference. The studio, ran by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, eventually became successful enough with “small” movies that they’ve become giant movie studios in their own right. How do you know if a studio has made it into the ranks of the Major Studios? One sure sign is when they start releasing movies under different “banners” for their various movies. Dimension is one of Miramax’s banners, known for releasing their more genre-oriented films. Miramax was built from the bones of independent filmmakers like Kevin Smith, the writer/director/co-star of Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back (Smith plays the latter titular character, Silent Bob).

The entire movie is strung together with one skit after another, with the flimsy premise of Jay and Silent Bob going to Hollywood by way of New Jersey to stop a movie currently being made about them. All this in the two doper’s never-ending effort to stop Internet fanboys from badmouthing them. Along the way, they free caged animals, meet up with 4 sexy gals, joins a hippie animal rights activist, and throw out enough “F” words that if you were to take out all the “F” words you would think the movie had no sound or dialogue.

Jay and Silent Bob is a hilarious send-up on the road movie. It’s all about the various encounters the film’s two main characters (Jay and Silent Bob) have with the strangest people on the road. How about a van full of very familiar-looking characters and a certain talking dog that wants to solve “ghostly” mysteries; or a hitchhiker played by George Carlin who holds up a sign that reads, “Will give head for ride”.

The movie also pulls no punches when it goes after Hollywood. The film’s two biggest targets are Miramax the studio and the army of loudmouth Internet “fanboys” who frequents chat rooms and fan sites to criticize filmmakers like Smith. A running gag in Jay and Silent Bob concerns the two titular characters badmouthing anonymous Internet loudmouths who are badmouthing them. The irony is that neither factions have ever seen the other in person, but that doesn’t stop either party from badmouthing the other. (Hmm, wonder where I fit in? Heh heh.)

Other targets on Smith’s hit list are his old buddies Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Forget for one moment that Smith and Affleck are buddies in real life, or that Affleck actually plays a character that badmouths the real-life Ben Affleck — re: himself. How funny is that? Well, it probably doesn’t sound very funny here, but I promise you that it is a riot to hear Affleck calling himself all kinds of names. Damon shows that he’s a good sport as he and Affleck (the movie star Affleck, as played by Ben Affleck, and not the not-Affleck character played by Affleck (confused yet? I know I am!)) shoot a sequel to Good Will Hunting.

Somehow, someway, Smith was able to talk noted directors like Wes Craven and Gus Van Sant (the director of Good Will Hunting) into doing cameos as themselves. Van Sant is seen counting his buckets of cash on the set of Good Will Hunting 2 and telling his actors that he’s too busy to direct them. Craven’s cameo is just as funny — he’s directing yet another Scream sequel, but this time starring Shannen Doherty and an orangutan playing the ghostface killer.

I am still quite amazed how Smith managed to convince all these famous actors to play themselves in such disparaging roles. Even Jason “Pie F—er” Biggs shows up as himself, playing the movie role of Silent Bob, while James Van “Creek” Der Beek shows up to play the movie role of Jay. The two have a small scene in an apartment where Van Der Beek criticizes Biggs for calling every one, every situation, and everything “gay”. Biggs then laments the fact that whenever people notice him, they always call him Jason “The Pie F–er” Biggs, of course pointing out his infamous role in American Pie when he, well, makes love to an apple pie in his parent’s kitchen.

Jay and Silent Bob has a long list of funny gags. Who needs a “story” when you’ve got funny skits?

Kevin Smith (director) / Kevin Smith (screenplay)
CAST: Jason Mewes … Jay
Kevin Smith … Silent Bob
Ben Affleck … Holden McNeil/Himself
Jeff Anderson … Randal Graves
Brian O’Halloran … Dante Hicks
Shannon Elizabeth … Justice
Eliza Dushku … Sissy
Ali Larter … Chrissy

Buy Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back on DVD