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Independent cinema found one of its most iconic voices when writer/director Kevin Smith first gave the world Clerks back in 1994. Through his nearly three-decade-long filmmaking career, there have been highs and lows that saw everything from Chasing Amy to Yoga Hosers grace the silver screen, with varying results. Now, Smith has returned to his famous View Askewniverse with Jay And Silent Bob Reboot, and it feels like the man has found his voice again in confident clarity.
Almost 20 years after Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back sent our heroes, Jay (Jason Mewes) and his hetero lifemate Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), to Hollywood, the boys are at it again when the Bluntman and Chronic movie is about to be rebooted by those [expletives deleted] in Hollywood. While this journey feels extremely familiar, there are enough differences to make this particular reboot standout, as Jay and Silent Bob are about to learn a lot about the modern world outside of Leonardo, New Jersey.
Jay And Silent Bob Reboot isn’t just a cute title, as the film halfway serves as a reboot for those classic Kevin Smith characters we know and love. While this is really more of a “legacyquel,” that term is relatively new, and it’s definitely not a remake of Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. Sure, there are a lot of callbacks to lines and events from that previous film, but there’s a huge difference with what Smith is trying to do with Reboot.
Not content with just making people laugh with Jay And Silent Bob Reboot, Kevin Smith wants to make you think and cry. And that’s all thanks to a storyline that involves Jay meeting up with the daughter he never knew he had, Millennium “Millie” Faulken (Harley Quinn Smith). This twist of the tale not only allows Smith to basically reboot the girl gang he created in Strike Back, but it gives Jay an emotional story to work his way through in-between the pop culture commentary and weed jokes.
Both forces of comedic good are still very much present in Jay And Silent Bob Reboot. In fact, the way that Smith bobs and weaves between heartfelt moments and flat out funny antics is admirable. There are jokes so laugh out loud funny, you’ll either miss lines of dialogue in the theater, or may have to pause this movie if you’re watching it on demand. And at the same time, there are moments so sweet that you’ll definitely shed a tear.
There’s always a fine line to walk when making a film like Jay And Silent Bob Reboot, as any filmmaker worth their salt wants to remember the good times, but still make some new memories in the process. Both the humor and the emotion shown in this film are pure Kevin Smith magic, but those twin forces have also been reshaped to better fit the times we live in today.
Jay’s as crude as ever, with Silent Bob still being the more enlightened member of the pair. However, throughout their adventure, the world of today challenges their behaviors and their beliefs to the point where personal growth actually becomes a big part of the journey. While you can watch Jay And Silent Bob Reboot as a throwback comedy, you can also enjoy it as a drama filled character-driven stakes.
What’s particularly impressive about Jay And Silent Bob Reboot is the treatment of the character of Jay, played once again in brilliant fashion by Jason Mewes. As his newfound fatherhood starts to change him, Jay gets to look back into his own life and ultimately learn the lessons he needs to in order to be a better force in his daughter’s life. Through all of this soul searching, Mewes gets to pull more dramatic weight than most would expect, and he does a really good job at holding it all together.
Kevin Smith has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years, with his previous film Yoga Hosers being the sacrificial lamb of the day. In a sense, that too could be considered a kind of a reboot, as Smith saw similar backlash when he released Jersey Girl back in the day. Much like any cycle of ebb and flow, Smith’s talents are definitely flowing with Jay And Silent Bob Reboot, as he proves he’s still got a lot to say about nerd culture’s progression, and he’s got some deep thoughts about life itself.
If you’re expecting a hysterically good time out of Jay And Silent Bob Reboot, you’ll to get just that. However, if you’re looking for more, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the hidden depths that await you upon taking the irreverent journey. Not only is this film a confident return to Kevin Smith's old thematic stomping grounds, it's also a brave path forward into evolving his style for the modern age. It's also really damned funny, and if you like the idea of having fun at the movies, you shouldn't be scare away, as you're not only missing a lot of hysterical mayhem, but you're losing the chance to possibly learn something more about yourself. Don't disappoint Silent Bob; see Jay And Silent Bob Reboot as soon as possible.