I think it’s obvious stating that if you don’t know much about the View Askew Universe or Jay and Silent Bob that you will probably get nothing out of JAY AND SILENT BOB REBOOT. Well, maybe you’d get a little somethin’ somethin’ out of the reboot jokes and pop culture references. But do you know what a Mooby’s is? Are you familiar with the origin of “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms yo!”? Do you know Brodie, Holden McNeil, Alyssa Jones, Justice, Dante Hicks, and the list goes on? If most of your answers were no, this film isn’t for you. If your interest is somehow peaked because Kevin Smith sells himself out faster than a hooker on a corner in Las Vegas, you’d need to watch Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II, in that order. Also, I’m pretty sure that Justin Long’s cameo in this means that Zach and Miri Make A Porno is now a part of the View Askew Universe, which I applaud. Don’t get me wrong, I really had fun and enjoyed this movie. I will take anything to jump into this universe again, as long as it isn’t bad as Mallrats, but damn, I really wish that Kevin Smith had gotten more production budget money. Because this film felt very, very, very cheaply made.
I don’t know if my review is going to go anywhere, because other than last night, the film is only playing one more time as a “Fathom Event” in theaters this Thursday, 10/17/19, and even then, it isn’t by itself but a double feature with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Then Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes hit the road, taking the movie on a roadshow tour gig, where you will pay a much bigger ticket price to see the film, but you’ll also be part of a live Q&A from both of them after the film is done. Then I think it will hit digital, on demand, and home video early next year, where those that really wanted to see it but couldn’t find the time or didn’t live near a theater that had these two showings, and didn’t have the money or was close to a roadshow location, can finally enjoy it. So I guess I’m writing this for those of you that are seeing it this Thursday or already have tickets to one of his roadshow screenings? Eh…I think I’m writing it more for all those very loyal fanboys out there that really do follow the View Askew Universe closely.
I am one of them. I have to admit though, when I was introduced to Jay and Silent Bob by my father, I kind of saw the universe out of order. My first film of theirs was Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, then I kind of went backward, watching Dogma, then Chasing Amy, Mallrats, and finally Clerks. Never truly got in order until Clerks II was released and that was the last View Askew film before this! But I was an instant fan. I’ve probably seen Dogma a dozen times along with Strike Back and Clerks II, Chasing Amy a handful, but only Mallrats and the original Clerks twice. I can quote all the famous lines when they come up within the movie. And I think Kevin Smith has a knack for quirky dialogue like Quentin Tarantino does, although Smith is definitely more crass and crude. This just goes to show you that, A. this review is going to be a little long and B. I was really really really really really looking forward to this film. Was over the moon excited when I sat in my theater seat last night. (important to note: I have not seen the Jay and Silent Bob Super Groovy Cartoon movie, which I don’t really consider part of the View Askew Universe because Smith did not direct it, only write it, but I’m not thinking maybe I should give it a chance)
Following a funny and informative intro from Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, the movie started, and I laughed all the way through the film for sure. But also once the film started, something was really kind of irking me. My wife leaned over to me halfway through the film and whispered in my ear, “is it me or does this seem extremely, cheaply made?” She was right. That was what was bothering me. And it was probably a lot easier to tell that the film didn’t have a lot of money when we had just watched Strike Back just two nights prior. This was the first View Askew Universe film not sponsored and funded by that egotistical disgusting fuck Harvey Weinstein. It is also the first film not to be produced by Scott Mosier either, but he’s cool, wasn’t involved in that sexual scandal at all, not sure why he didn’t decide to produce along with Saban Films. Anyway, I came to learn that the production budget was $10 million dollars for this, which I was very surprised to hear, especially since Dogma had the same amount, and is a much better looking film. So is Strike Back, but that had a budget of 22 million, which is not surprising considering that film felt huge. This film felt like it was made for $3 million or less (at times it even felt like it was made under Clerks budget of $27,575), as it didn’t even look as good as Mallrats, that film having a production budget of $6 million.
What I’m trying to get at is that it felt like Kevin Smith could’ve used several more takes on certain scenes, as the some of the editing and pacing seemed a little wonky. But if I know Kevin Smith as well as I think I do, he probably used every single penny of that $10 million and probably even shelled out some from his own pocket. I guarantee you that most of the money went to getting some huge names in there (I won’t reveal most of them as I don’t want to ruin any surprises. I still really really really liked the film even though you can tell the film was only shot in 3 weeks (the same number of days that it took him to film Clerks). All of the cheap production value is forgivable because the film was made with absolute love. It is definitely 95% fan service, and it all mostly works extremely, extremely well. I just hope that Clerks III is given a modest budget, but then I hope that film finally caps off the View Askew Universe, as it will have completely gone full circle and could be a true goodbye love letter to all us fans.
What is this film about? Well, as a movie trying to spoof all the remakes, reboots, and sequels yet being all three, the film starts off with Jay and Silent Bob unknowingly signing off their naming rights to Saban Films and thus cannot self-identify as Jay and Silent Bob ever again. At the same time they find out that a reboot of the Bluntman & Chronic movie ( the new one hilariously titled Bluntman V Chronic) that sucked “balls & asshole” 18 years ago is being remade, by none other than Kevin Smith. That reboot is almost done being made, except that Kevin Smith is auctioning off walk on roles for charity, and is going to film the final scene when “Chronic Con” hits in 3 days. Jay and Silent Bob go to Hollywood once again to stop the movie from being made so that they can somehow get their likenesses back. Oh, and along the way Jay finds out that he is actually a father to an 18 year old girl, his arc for the rest of the movie trying to let her know his identity, while coming to terms that it might actually be time to grow the fuck up.
And that is what most of Kevin Smith’s films deal with: the aspect of knowing when to grow up and how to start to do so. He uses his own experiences to influence his films, and they all work, even though one could argue he has never grown up as a filmmaker, and when he has tried to, a la Red State and Tusk, he realizes that he’s out of his element, and should stick to the juvenile comedy he loves and is so good at. If Clerks III wasn’t being made, I would’ve said this was a more than an adequate finale for the View Askew Universe. You get updates on most of your favorite characters (and some you didn’t even know you needed updates on), and to cap it all off, this is easily Jason Mewes best performance to date as Jay, or any of the other small handful of characters he plays. He shows true heart here, more than capable of having his character realize it is finally time to step up and be a responsible adult. The scenes with him and Harley Quinn Smith, who plays his daughter (but hilariously is really Kevin Smith’s daughter), are easily the best, showing maturity and the fact that Smith knows how to write his characters out of the stigma of being just one-dimensional walking dick and fart jokes.
As for my problem with the production value, being that the budget was only about $10 million, it really is all forgivable knowing how long Kevin Smith took to finally get this film made. Some of the editing and pacing is a bit off, and a bunch of locations you could tell were filmed at friends or families places or really quickly built, cheap sets. The “Chronic Con” event at the end looks as though it was filmed in an abandoned warehouse or school building. I understand that most of the money probably went to all those cameos, and the film wouldn’t be the same without them, but I feel like maybe if he had focused a little more on the father/daughter aspect of the script, cut the cameos, and made it all about story, the film could’ve looked better than it did. But I’m really just shooting myself in the face saying that, because the fan service made me smile and catered to my very fan boy soul. Kevin Smith even plays himself in this and pokes fun at himself quite a bit, if that doesn’t make you howl with laughter, I don’t know what will.
Like I said, the movie is all fan service. It is a fantastic and funny tribute to its loyal fans. And I ate up every second of it. Hopefully no one ruins many of the great surprises and jokes the movie has in store for those that are eagerly waiting to see it. Thankfully Ben Affleck (he’s in the trailer so his appearance is not much of a spoiler) got his shit together and whatever beef him and Smith had was worked out and he ended up appearing in a lengthy scene (I think shot at the last minute), which is easily the movies’ best sequence. I won’t ruin what all the scene has to offer, just know that Affleck seemed like he wanted to be there, the dialogue was fantastic and some of Smith’s best, and it looked like Affleck even had a blast poking fun at himself, via his character Holden McNeil, at being Batman. Affleck really was the bomb in Reboot, yo.
So yeah, you either really really really want to see Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, or you don’t. It is that simple. The only way you can change your mind from not knowing anything about the View Askew Universe and not wanting to see this film, is to start with Clerks and go onward. If you don’t like what you get by Dogma, maybe you should stop right there, as nothing at that point will win you over. But if you are obsessed with this world as I am, it is a nice sweet treat, but with some shoddy production values as the wrapper. Kevin Smith can’t go all out anymore like he did with Dogma, Chasing Amy, or Strike Back because of all this cancel and woke culture bullshit, but he adapts quickly, making jokes that still hit their target, but obviously it is a more politically correct mark. The more I think about the film, the more I like it. I can’t wait to watch it again, and mark my words, I will. Be sure to stay all the way thru the credits for more SNOOTCHIE BOOTCHIE SURPRISES!!! I love Jay and Silent Bob, I love them and their stupid asses.
My rank of Kevin Smith films (just because):
- Chasing Amy
- Clerks II
- Zach and Miri Make A Porno
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
- Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
- Jersey Girl
- Red State
- Yoga Hosers
- Cop Out