Reviewed by: Scott Ward
|Featuring:||Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Chris Rock, Shannon Elizabeth|
“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” is the 5th and final film in the New Jersey series by acclaimed independent director Kevin Smith. In this installment, Jay and Silent Bob, a pot-dealer and his “hetero-life mate” embark on a journey to stop a film being made about comic-book characters that were loosely based on them (they’re not getting any money). This journey takes them from New Jersey to Missouri to Colorado, and eventually to Hollywood. Along the way, they pick up their normal assortment of friends, foes, and monkeys.
Technically, the film itself is excellently put together. Kevin Smith has had a history of designing multi-level films that are simple and straightforward on the surface, but maintaining a deeper level of understanding just below the surface. This one is no exception. Constant pokes at Hollywood and the greed that runs the entertainment industry make the film a delightful carnal comedy that kept the theater in an uproar.
I would be amiss, however, if I didn’t mention the dark side to the movie. There’s plenty to offend everyone. The language (like most Smith films) is vulgar and street-level (Kids-in-Mind reports 228 uses of the “F” word alone). There’s plenty of sexual implications and frank talk to go around. I don’t recall any gore or anything other than slapstick violence, and there is drug use and some brief partial nudity of a male’s backside and a glance at an adult Web site. For those reasons, I give a low moral rating to this film. There didn’t seem to be any pot-shots at Christianity, other than a scene where Jay mistakenly thinks a nun is coming onto him (He gets tossed out of a car for that one).
Unfortunately, there is a conflict between my appreciation for the arts and my love for Jesus. From an artistic and creative standpoint, the film was very good. Kevin Smith’s use of dialogue, plot, and character development are well-done, and the actors perform admirably. At the same time, from a moral and spiritual standpoint, I thought the movie was seriously lacking for obvious reasons.
This is disappointing, since I love Kevin Smith’s previous work. From the honest ethical and moral conflicts of “Chasing Amy” and “Clerks”, to the frank disection of religiosity and appearance in “Dogma”, Smith has consistently been a good filmmaker and storyteller. Often times, his use of vulgarity is forgivable in the presence of a deeper message. This time, though, he seems to have made a good movie vulgar, simply to be vulgar.
Was this a good movie technically? Yes. Did I laugh? Heartily. Was I ashamed later for laughing? Yes. Should Christians see this movie? Probably not. If you don’t mind the frankness and vulgarity, I would still recommend one of his earlier movies before this one.