Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Writer/director/actor Kevin Smith's fifth film is intended to be a kiss-off to the constellation of Gen X misfits who have populated his movies since 1994's Clerks--and it's about time. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back puts the titular stoner duo, played by Jason Mewes and Smith, front and center (instead of relegating them, as usual, to the Greek chorus/comic relief) and sends them on a quest to wrest control of a comic book they inspired back from Miramax. The studio intends to make the comic into a movie starring teen idols James Van Der Beek and Jason Biggs (or, as the American Pie actor refers to himself, "the pie fucker"). Miramax, of course, was the studio that dumped Smith's controversial last film, Dogma; the in-jokes and pop-culture winks fly fast and furious here, and and while some of them are funny (there's an inspired doozy of a scene involving Scooby Doo) it gives the film the fleeting feel of a junk-food binge. More problematic is the 31-year-old Smith's inability to give the adolescent dick jokes a rest; there's always been an undercurrent of homoeroticism between Jay and Silent Bob, but Smith's jokes about it here just seem awkward and dumb (though not, as some gay activists have charged, intentionally hateful). A guy who watches as many cartoons as Smith does should know that Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd did this sort of thing a long time ago, and were a lot funnier.