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Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Rated R

Starring: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, and Shannon Elizabeth

Rating:
***
out of
*****

Kevin Smith is one of my favorite directors. Chasing Amy and Clerks are two of my favorite films of all time. The very first set of reviews I wrote for this site -- back in January, 1997 -- included a review of Mallrats, Kevin Smith's much maligned sequel to Clerks. Smith's "Jersey Trilogy," even with its ups-and-downs, has provided a lot of movie-going fun for me. So for me to say that I was eager to see Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back would be kind of pointless.

In the film, stoners Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) learn that Miramax is producing a film based on their comic-book alter egos, Bluntman and Chronic. They also learn that they're not getting any money from the use of their likenesses. On top of that, they learn that people are saying bad things about them on the Internet. After consulting with Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), co-creator of Bluntman and Chronic and one of the main characters in Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob head off to Hollywood to stop the production of the movie.

Kevin Smith has never been one to hide his influences nor his genuine love of certain films and cultural icons. He has yet to make a film without references to Star Wars, Jaws and comic books. Since this movie is meant to end the series of films that began with Clerks in 1994, Smith has a field day wheeling out his trademarks as well as throwing in as many relevant (and irrelevant) cameos as possible. It's clear that Smith and his cast are having fun and if you're in on even some of the jokes you'll have fun as well.

It's hard to recommend this film to anyone who hasn't at least seen Clerks. The recommendation grows with each of the following films in the series. If you've seen Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma, you'll love Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. If you haven't, you'll probably wonder what the hell is going on. I loved it for what it is: a tribute to a pair of characters that are as lovable and funny as they are stupid and raunchy.

Trivia: The film originally received an NC-17 rating. Numerous scenes had to be cut down for an R, including footage of George Carlin and Jay and Silent Bob's arrival to Hollywood. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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