I managed to watch the latest movie in Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse – Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
When I was younger, I was a massive fan of Kevin Smith’s work.
I bought the spin-off comics and even on my first visit to a America, went on a mission scouring stores to find the Clerks animated series DVD which you couldn’t get it in the UK.
I guess there was just something about the characters that appealed to me – the freaks, nerds and romantics.
As a young outcast I could relate.
Smith has a great talent of mixing vile language with great everyman story telling which makes films like Clerks and Chasing Amy classics.
Sometimes the humour could get a bit silly and cartoonish, like you see in Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Sure, these films would never win academy awards, but they were an entertaining watch.
Keeping it safe…
The fundamental problem with Smith’s film is of course, like a lot of modern cinema, he plays it safe and goes with what has worked in the past.
In many ways I do not blame him for this, as other attempts like Jersey Girl and Cop Out flopped.
You could blame the writing on these films, but even decent efforts like Zack and Miri Make a Porno, relied on a similar approach, even featuring Jason Mewes typecast with traits of his more famous character.
The message was clear his loyalist fans just wanted more of the same, they wanted more Jay and Silent Bob.
And so, we get Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
The more things change…
To understand the tone of what Reboot is going to be like, you only need to watch the first five minutes, when we see the police bust Jay and Silent Bob running a drugs operation.
This scene is littered with unnecessary f-bombs which made me think was the language always this over the top or have I turned into a prude?
The big moment in the scene is when a more weathered looking Jason Mewes (Jay) comes out with his penis tucked between his legs.
Yeah…, from that you’ve already decided if this movie is for you…
And this is where Reboot comes unintentionally depressing – it’s originally fan based may have aged and matured, but the content hasn’t.
It’s like watching the school joker still using the same routine from the playground at an adult dinner party.
The never growers…
Watching the film made me think how unrealistic this was, how could two men approaching fifty still be dressed and acting like they are still in their early twenties.
I mean seriously – no personal growth over two decades?
Jay is still a foul-mouthed idiot, while Silent Bob (played by Kevin Smith) is still the good intentioned mute, tagging along with the hijinks of his hetero-life mate.
But then I thought about it again – there are actually people who no matter how much time passes just don’t change, I’ve met more than my fair share of Jay and Silent Bob’s in my life.
They don’t do anything new.
They have no ambitions.
They are dissatisfied with life, but don’t do anything about it.
They just stubbornly do what they always have done.
In many ways Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is about them.
You can credit Kevin Smith for achieving something way ahead of it’s time, creating a universe of characters who would interweave between movies before Marvel Films was even a thing.
And in some ways, it works like the production line process that Marvel movies use to create familiarity – the same actors, plot line and in-references that only the die-hard fans would get.
For example, we get nudge, nudge, wink, wink reference from the character Milly when she says about Kevin Smith (who has been made a character in the movie)
“I hate this guy. He forces his kid to be in everything he makes.”
For most viewers, the joke will go over their head with more ease than a limbo dancer, because unless you’re a big fan you won’t realise the actress playing the character is Kevin Smith’s daughter.
This makes the comedy like a meme, repetitive and only containing humour if you are in on the joke.
This is a perfect watch for the non-growing fan, as it offers nothing new to challenge their trudging life.
So we get a film about our lovable misfit rascal heroes, going to comic-con to try to stop a reboot of a superhero movie about them, which follows a similar plot to the previous film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, where our lovable misfit rascal heroes go to Hollywood to try and stop a superhero movie about them
It’s all kind of meta.
In the end…
When I overthink the context of Kevin Smith films, it seems like he is making social commentary on people who don’t do much with their lives – Clerks started it with two directionless slackers working in a convenience store.
The film ends (SPOILER) with Jay back in New Jersey hanging out at the Quick Stop as usual, though growth is flirted with, as he has new found responsibility as a father to his long lost daughter.
The film is a good example of the lost generation, the so called incels not interested in improvement or building relationships.
Instead living life obsessed with geek culture consumerism, where the only thing to look forward to is the latest franchise movie, (which they’ll inevitably be disappointed with).
You could say Kevin Smith is cursed to be unable to escape his original creation about two dope dealing slackers from New Jersey, but don’t feel too bad for him, as he’s profited quite well off their cult status, even today you can visit the Jay and Silent Bob Secret Stash shop and find a range of merch that would put Kiss to shame.
With news of a Clerks 3 and a Mallrats sequel, it’s more content of same old same old for the type of people who are now middle-aged but haven’t yet moved on from finding merriment seeing someone let out an exceptionally loud trump.
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