Jay and Silent Bob have appeared in a long-lasting movie universe originating back in 1994, long before the MCU or other modern cinematic universes ever existed. However, the comedy duo went several years without gracing the silver screen. Now, they are both back in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot! Does this long-awaited installment in the View Askewniverse capture the same ridiculous magic, or does it bring the franchise to a quick stop?
The cast, both View Askew veterans and newcomers, all clearly had a ton of fun working on this project. It’s nice to see a movie sequel that’s released long after the previous film where the actors aren’t phoning it in. Everyone involved enjoyed themselves and it made the movie more entertaining because of it. Their performances were also great enough to bring each of the many characters to life.
Like the other Jay and Silent Bob films, there are plenty of references to other movies in the franchise. One of the exciting elements of the View Askewniverse is seeing the same characters show up in different stories. Here, because it’s been so long and many of the actors have moved on, seeing the actors return and those references made is more than enough to create a strong sense of nostalgia. It also leads to some fantastic jokes and emotional moments. There are also plenty of pop culture references for those nerdy enough like me to appreciate them.
The film’s humor is top notch. It’s difficult not to laugh at Kevin Smith’s irreverent jokes throughout the movie. Whether it’s clever banter between characters, Jay getting lost in a sexual fantasy while in a fast food restaurant, Jay and Silent Bob being threatened by teen girls, or the KKK being covered in feces, there are massive laughs to be had on this joyride of a film. Adding to that, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot serves as a solid satire of Hollywood’s reboot fad while also technically being a reboot, creating clever meta humor.
In contrast to the gut-busting humor, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot offers surprisingly heartwarming scenes. Smith and everyone else involved completely succeeded in making the audience feel for the characters more than in any of the previous installments. Jay learning to become a positive father figure adds an unexpected emotional twist not seen for the character before. One of the film’s central themes is how far the world has come during the time between the previous movie and this one. We see it when we learn about where characters have ended up like Banky running a comic shop, when the explanations of what a reboot is occur, and during Holden’s vital scene discussing his life as a father. This theme, especially with the latter, adds a lot to the emotional aspect of the movie. Holden talking about becoming a father and how our children are our reboot is one of the most touching moments in the cinematic universe. It resonates even more when you realize it’s how Ben Affleck, Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes all see their own real lives.
Overall, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is a total love letter to the fans of the Jay and Silent Bob series. This is the case so much that the fans literally play a part in saving the day at the end. It truly shows how Kevin Smith feels for and respects his fans. Love letters like this film are more than appreciated in a world full of cash grabs.
There’s a badass group of teen girls at the center of Jay and Silent Bob’s journey this time around. Each of them are fun characters with interesting backstories. However, other than Millie, they are not nearly as fleshed out as they could or should be. They seem like they have unique personalities, but they don’t get enough time for us to really see that. It makes it tough for us to care about them during the scenes intended for us to.
There’s a certain “weird” or especially over-the-top element seen in the previous Jay and Silent Bob movies that’s mostly absent here. For instance, Dogma features angels and other Biblical beings, Clerks 2 contains the infamous “Donkey Show” scene, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has the drug-dealing duo kidnap a monkey and are chased across the country because of it. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, however, lacks that next level ridiculousness. It is a fun, hilarious road trip adventure that does feature some out-of-the-ordinary imagery, like beating up a pedophile for his van, but it doesn’t quite reach that batsh*t crazy height that some of the past films reach.
As with most “cinematic universe” movies, if you haven’t seen the other films, this one might confuse you a bit. Sure, you’ll probably enjoy the jokes, action, and journey, but the excitement of the returning characters or the witty inside jokes may be lost on you. It’s obviously made for the fans of the other movies, so it’s not a huge problem by any means, but I can see it being enough to prevent some newcomers from jumping on the Jay and Silent Bob bandwagon.
In the Know
Kevin Smith has been attempting to make a new Jay and Silent Bob movie for quite a while. There was originally a sequel to Mallrats planned, but Universal owns the rights which caused some issues. As a result, Smith wanted to move on to his next idea, Clerks 3. However, Jeff Anderson, who plays Randal, wasn’t interested in returning. Smith didn’t want to have Clerks without the original Clerks, so he moved on and was eventually and fortunately able to get Jay and Silent Bob Reboot made. Plus, Smith, Mewes, and Anderson were recently at a signing together to celebrate the 25th anniversary Clerks and talked a lot about Clerks 3, enough to convince Anderson to come back on. It looks like we’ll see Clerks 3 in the near future!
In the film, Millie is Jay’s daughter. In real life, however, she’s played by Kevin Smith’s daughter, Harley. Later on, when Ben Affleck is talking about being a father and his young daughter walks out, it’s actually Jason Mewes’s daughter, Logan. The real-life father-daughter relationships make the movie father-daughter scenes that much more impactful and emotional.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is an absolute love letter to fans of the franchise. It may be missing a certain over-the-top element some of the other installments in the franchise offer, and you’ll definitely need to be caught up on those other films, but it’s still an extremely hilarious, intensely fun road trip stoner comedy with surprisingly heartfelt tones. It’s an exciting experience to see how far some of the characters have come in the 25 year-old series. Any fan of the Jay and Silent Bob franchise is sure to love this one just as much as the rest.