Celebrity Culture: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Review

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Celebrity Culture: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Review

Celebrity Culture:

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot plays in theaters Oct. 15 and Oct. 17 via Fathom Events.
It’s been 25 years since Kevin Smith introduced audiences to hyperactive slackers Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks. They functioned as a vehicle for some of the movie’s raunchiest jokes, a function that’s remained largely the same in their subsequent appearances. The Askewniverse films have always been Smith’s most personal, so when news came that he was revisiting that world with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, it seemed a little strange that he could just be using these characters to take potshots (heh) at the Hollywood machine. But Reboot ends up being a surprisingly heartfelt look at growing older and growing up… punctuated with a whole hell of a lot of dirty humor. Just don’t expect a reinvention of the wheel in the story department.By design, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot’s plot hews very, very closely to their adventure in Strike Back: Jay (Jason Mewes) and his hetero life-mate Silent Bob (Smith) get wind of a Hollywood scheme to use their likenesses in a movie and leave the comforts of Quick Stop’s stoop to put an end to it. Reboot milks that storytelling shortcut for everything it’s worth, even throwing The Force Awakens under the bus as justification. Smith uses Strike Back’s plot to comment on the state of Hollywood’s ongoing tendency to take what’s worked before and keep doing it… all while Smith takes what’s worked before and keeps doing it himself. It’s a hit-or-miss balancing act that for the first half of the movie bogs down some of the fun, as the constant reminders of the movie being a reboot about stopping a reboot offer diminishing returns.

Watch Kevin Smith respond to IGN Comments:Jay and Silent Bob’s anti-Hollywood sentiment hold also seems at odds with just how many celebrities stop by to make cameos in Reboot. The numerous instances of scenes starting with Jay and Silent Bob entering a room and the camera panning to reveal a celebrity make it feel like the movie was written around how many names Smith could pull out of his considerable rolodex of famous contacts. Reboot more often than not acknowledges these kinds of contradictions in dialogue, which does end up mitigating what could have felt full-on tacky if it had been ignored.

Overall, the rest of the movie’s humor should connect with any fan of Smith’s early work. Reboot is alive with a cartoonish, frenetic energy that’s been missing from Smith’s films since Clerks II, his last all-out comedy. Smith’s trademark knack for dialogue is on full display, giving the many, many actors making cameos in the film a chance to shine or play against type. Reboot gets away with most of its blue material because everyone involved is clearly having a great time, and the multiple instances of fourth-wall breaking when things get too self-referential help to reinforce a feeling that everyone, including the audience, is welcome to cut loose at this reunion.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Gallery

Once Reboot gets around to introducing Jay’s love child Milly (Harley Quinn Smith), the story diverges into more interesting territory. Reboot is about evolution, embracing both the past and the future, and that dynamic in Jay and Milly’s relationship ends up being one of the movie’s strongest elements. Jay and Silent Bob’s entire schtick is that as the years go by, they remain exactly the same ne’er-do-wells they’ve always been, so introducing Jay to a daughter he has no idea how to relate to ends up being fodder for some pretty great character moments, especially late in the game.

These more emotional scenes are helped along greatly by Mewes and the Smiths being a family in real life and their chemistry is expectedly easy. You’re never going to see Mewes go up for an Oscar, but he’s certainly bringing more to Reboot’s dramatic material than you’d anticipate. Smith’s Silent Bob remains a great Teller to Mewes’ Penn, taking to the advent of expressing himself through emojis like a duck to water. Smith also pulls double duty as a semi-fictionalized, more over-the-top version of himself, bringing his carnival barker energy to Chronic Con as the director of the upcoming Bluntman v Chronic reboot that Jay and Silent Bob are trying to stop.

Watch the trailer for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot below:Yes, the meta levels are off the charts and those elements of Reboot will either delight you or alienate you completely. Your mileage is going to depend on how current you are with pop culture, but even more-so on your familiarity with the assorted legends and myths of both the fictional Askewniverse and of Smith’s real life. Smith has been making movies more and more exclusively for his fans for years, so chances are, if you’re interested in Reboot at all, it’s because you’re already at least a little familiar with the Askewniverse. If you only have a passing recollection of Jay and Silent Bob’s previous adventures, or God forbid you’ve never seen one of Smith’s films period, a lot of the movie’s just not going to make sense and won’t be nearly as funny as it would be to a Smith movie/podcast completionist.

For those in the know, one of Reboot’s most surprising and delightful aspects will be the way it ties up some loose ends in the Askewniverse. To spoil them would be to ruin some of the movie’s funniest and most potent scenes, but needless to say, Smith does not take the opportunity of having all his friends back in the sandbox for granted. Sometimes, these asides are just chances for Smith to color in some Askewniverse history, such as revealing who was behind an event that partially set the original Clerks into motion. Others, though, serve the lives of both the characters and the actors

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