Movie Review: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

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two half stars

R |

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith

by Jason Koenigsberg

Ah, nostalgia for the 90’s. A much simpler time when Kevin Smith was a respected independent filmmaker and when the only Stan Lee movie cameos were in Kevin Smith’s movies. Good news, Stan Lee makes a posthumous cameo in Kevin Smith’s latest film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. The bad news is that so do dozens of other celebrities that have starred in Kevin Smith movies for the past 25 years. There is one funny and clever moment, reminiscent of Smith’s heyday in the mid-90’s. It involves Jason Lee, one of Smith’s many frequent collaborators who pops up in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot as Brodie, the character he played in Smith’s Mallrats (1995). The scene occurs early on where Jason Lee is speaking to Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith as their characters Jay and Silent Bob, about the difference between a reboot, a remake, and a sequel. It is an inspired bit that would have worked even better as part of one of Kevin Smith’s stand up routines. It did not need an entire unnecessary movie surrounding it. But if everyone else is cashing in with reboots, Kevin Smith should too. 

The opening shot of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is the Quick Stop store front that is the same store from his directorial debut Clerks (1994). Unlike Smith’s contemporaries, the nineties independent filmmakers he came up with like Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Richard Linklater, Smith has never really changed or evolved as director. He has branched out a little bit with middling results, but he always comes back to the convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey where it all started. The next two hours are filled with juvenile jokes, self-aware humor, and constant references to the previous films in Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse (what he calls the connected stories in his filmography). Anyone familiar with Kevin Smith’s work, especially his films from the 90’s will get a lot of the jokes, which even reference Smith’s own weight loss, health scares, and flying issues. There are plenty of jokes about his friend/collaborator/costar Ben Affleck and even a reference to Fletch (1985) which Smith was supposed to direct in the early 2000’s with Jason Lee as the title character. Unsure if his Fletch was to be a reboot, remake, or sequel to the Chevy Chase ones and we will probably never know. 

Kevin Smith may not have matured as a director nor has his sense of humor changed over the years, but he has grown up as a man. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is filled with themes of fatherhood and passing the knowledge of important pop culture to the next generation and maybe that is the most valuable aspect of all these reboots, remakes, and sequels and for Kevin Smith and his fans to share their love of his early films with their posterity. He cast his own daughter Harley Quinn Smith as one of the main characters and even Jason Mewes’ daughter (she is no older than 5) has a small role. Smith has put his wife and daughter in his movies before. He also had nice nods to the late Stan Lee as mentioned above and George Carlin who was in several of Smith’s movies. The cast is all having a good time and enjoying themselves, some of their laughter and happiness is infectious, but is this really what movies have become? An excuse for actors and crew members to hang out and get paid? It is nice that everyone on screen likes each other, but was there really a story to tell or anything funny enough to purchase a ticket? Unfortunately there is not. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is just another in a long line of nostalgic reboots/remakes/sequels that is unnecessary. It may be fun to watch for the die hard fans of Kevin Smith (which is probably mostly people in New Jersey), but other than that this movie serves no purpose. 

Skip it and check out Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). It is virtually the same movie as Jay and Silent Bob Reboot only 18 years ago it felt fresh and not stale.

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