I knew a girl in high school who was one of the few people in the world who had never seen “Star Wars.” After having to sit through numerous conversations on whether Ben Kenobi was a clone and the possibilities of Han Solo being a Jedi, one Friday afternoon she went home with the resolve to watch the movie that she’d heard so much about.
On Monday she came to school angry with all of her Jedi-junkie friends, saying that the movie didn’t make sense. She said there wasn’t any build-up to the major points in the plot, half of the major characters in the film were dead before it even began, and she didn’t understand what the Ewoks had to do with anything.
Someone probably should have told her that “Star Wars” was a trilogy, and that she was only watching the last installment.
Likewise, movie-goers going to see the film “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” should be forewarned that most of the characters and allusions found in the film refer back to director Kevin Smith’s earlier comedies, 1994’s “Clerks,” 1995’s “Mallrats,” 1997’s “Chasing Amy,” and 1999’s “Dogma.”
Smith, who plays the aptly named Silent Bob in all of his films, has said that this movie is the last in the ever-growing “Jersey Trilogy” and that the familiar faces, settings and costumes are as much a homage to his loyal fans as they are to his earlier films.
Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob are two comedic drug dealers who have set up shop for years in front of the Quick Stop convenience store. After a restraining order is brought against the two, they retreat to the local comic book store where Brodie (Jason Lee, reprising a role from “Mallrats”) informs them that a movie is about to be made about two comic-book superheroes based on their similarities.
When they find out from the comic’s creator, Holden MacNeil (Ben Affleck, returning to his role from “Chasing Amy”), that the Internet is full of slander about the movie’s characters, and therefore themselves, Jay and Silent Bob decide to head to Hollywood to keep the film from being made.
Along the way, they accidentally meet up with a team of international jewel thieves who trick them into stealing a monkey from an animal research laboratory, and the two wind up being chased by Federal Wildlife Marshal Willholly (Will Ferrell in a role that…was created for this film).
Also along the way, they run into most of the characters from Smith’s earlier films, and new characters played by George Carlin, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hammill, Seann William Scott, Chris Rock, Judd Nelson and John Stewart. When they reach Hollywood, viewers see hilarious self-parodies by Affleck, Matt Damon, Wes Craven and Gus Van Sant.
Finally, Jay and Silent Bob find the studio where their movie is being made and come face to face with themselves as played by James Van Der Beek and Jason Biggs respectively. There’s a crazy lightsaber duel, a crazy gunfight, and everything climaxes into a performance by Morris Day and the Time.
If the plot sounds complicated, that’s because it is. The film, however, is very simple to watch – it’s basically a series of in-jokes and ultimate moments of slapstick wrapped around a story more ludicrous than that of “Scream 3,” in which Mewes and Smith also made cameos.
So, basically, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” was made for the die-hard fans who loved Smith’s other films. But that doesn’t mean that the average person can’t enjoy the film as a two-hour block of mindless comedy; they just won’t be laughing as hard as the rest of us.