|Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back|
|Written by Mel Odom|
|Tuesday, 26 February 2002|
"Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back" proves Kevin Smith has got his finger on the pulse of his audience. Although his humor is crude and often offensive in this movie, as in other movies, Smith plays to his audience, inundating them with the things they took their seats in the theater to see. At the same time, Smith takes shots at people, corporations and entities that think too highly of themselves. He also ladles in a healthy serving of social commentary along the way, which is not entirely the plan but does come through in the writing.
Jay and Silent Bob are two characters Smith has worked with and around for years. In addition to being movie characters, they’ve also been featured in comics. As all good epic storytellers must, Smith has created a world large enough to spin out several stories while keeping familiar touchstones that make return viewers feel instantly at home.
The DVD package has tons of extras, which make the viewer feel even more that he or she has become part of an intimate cadre of friends. Smith presents himself very honestly as the narrator and pitchman for deleted materials (as well as for the comic book shop he and his partner own, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash), and makes no apologies for the wickedly turned sense of humor he possesses.
In the movie, two drug dealers, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (filmmaker Smith), discover that a comic based on their lives has become a movie property. The movie "Bluntman and Chronic" is being filmed in Hollywood, and Jay and Silent Bob are getting trashed on the Internet, something that neither of the characters knew about. Before you can say Crosby and Hope, the guys are off to Hollywood to put an end to the movie.
Road trips are popular fare for comedies. Once a character is taken out of his or her environment, anything can happen and usually does. Smith goes all out. The sound on the DVD is excellent where all the music scores are concerned. In Chapter 1, the soundtrack blasts through the speakers, kicking the subwoofer temporarily up to warp speed. When an arrest occurs only a little later, the sounds of the sirens and the voices of the police officers echo through the center and main speakers, giving the viewer the impression that he or she is standing only a few feet away when the bust goes down.
Chapter 2 showcases a fantastic bit of sarcasm about Hollywood’s perception of the importance of comic book characters, and Chapter 3 really carries the whisky hoarse voice of George Carlin well as he explains The Book of hitchhiking to Jay and Silent Bob. Apparently, neither of them realized that buses weren’t free. After all, they used to ride them all the time when they went to school.
Also in Chapter 3, a nun (played, surprisingly, by Carrie Fisher) screams in outrage as Jay tries to service her according to The Book. The nun’s screams echo throughout the speaker system in full surround.
In Chapter 4, Jay and Silent Bob are picked up by a group of kids and a Great Dane in a battered van. The spoof of the Scooby-Doo cartoons is probably more of an homage than anything else, but it kicks open the door for another raucous music piece that throws the surround system into overdrive. Jay breaks out the "Dooby-Snacks" and the party is on. As "Velma" and "Daphne" explode into a striptease act, the audience can’t help but rock along to the familiar beat of Steppenwolf’s "Magic Carpet Ride" belting out of the speakers.
Jay almost succumbs to temptation in Chapter 5. A devil perches on his shoulder, and laughter boils out of the surround sound system from all speakers, underscored by the subwoofer. The effect is chilling. Chapter 6 puts the audience in the center of the action again as the van that Jay and Silent Bob have hitchhiked in rolls into a Quick Mart. The viewer gets the feeling he or she is standing there in front of the building when the van passes by and Jay and Silent Bob gets out. The music for this chapter includes a cut by the Bee Gees, and is pumped out in total surround sound.
Chapter 7 gets to one of the major plot points. The girls that have picked up Jay and Silent Bob turn out to be international jewel thieves. While Jay and Silent Bob are up in the nearby animal experimentation labs with the aid of a Batman-like grappling gun, the four girls don Lycra bodysuits and break into the nearby jewelry store. It’s definitely Charlie’s Angels gone bad, and the music that accompanies their intro dance numbers thumps through the subwoofer.
While Jay and Silent Bob are in the animal lab, the surround sound system puts the viewer into the middle of the room. Animal noises rolls from every speaker. Later, a bomb explodes. The boom echoes through the surround sound system, putting the viewer at ground zero as debris rains down.
Once Jay and Silent Bob are on the run with the authorities in tow, Smith pulls out all the stops and spoofs movie after movie. In the "Fugitive" sequence, the viewer is treated to a cacophony of bullets zinging from every speaker, and a chase that leads into a sewer pipe overhanging a dam. The water echoes in the tunnel, as do bird calls. Smith’s own "thumping" arrival into the sewer pipe blasts from the subwoofer.
Chapter 12 puts the viewer on the set of "Good Will Hunting II," which will never get made in the fashion suggested here, but is still good fun. The shotgun blast Matt Damon uses to put down a heckler rips out of the surround system. Chapter 13 leads to a confrontation with Wes Craven that is, pun fully intended in the spirit of the movie, a "scream." Jason Biggs, James Van Der Beek and Mark Hamill also appear.
In addition to a rollicking film that is, in fact, a study of parts rather than the whole, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" holds together over all as a good time. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously and presents a cornucopia of lowbrow humor. Those who love Smith’s movies will find even more to rave about.
The second disc contains deleted scenes, music videos, and other bits and snippets from the world that was "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" at the time. The movie and the additional material (over five hours altogether) feel like a big house party. While watching cameo after cameo, listing who didn’t show up in the movie seems like it would make a shorter list. Evidently there was a lot of enthusiasm for the movie, then and now.
So if Kevin Smith’s view askew of the world and ribald wit appeal to you, and if you like your comedy liberally spiced with crudity, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" is a definite keeper. And like a house party, the movie and documentary content are things that a viewer can pick up and play casually after having seen them the first time.