I was a hardcore Kevin Smith fan back when he strongly believed DVD was a fad and that Laserdisc was the one true format. I had and still have all his early films on the dreaded DVD, I tried to read everything he came out with, from interviews with Tom Cruise to his comic book work (Check out his Daredevil and Green Arrow runs). I memorized dialogue from his films, and even committed to memory a deleted monologue by Jason Lee as the demon Azrael from 1999’s Dogma about the birth of Hell. And I’m sure like a lot of his fans I started to fall off the wagon shortly after Zack and Miri Make a Porno. There was still some good work done in the next phase after his wacky comedies, with Red State, and I even wrote a lengthy defense of Tusk, which I still stand by but know that it was more of an experiment than a film. I mostly enjoy his podcast empire now more than the films. After his heat attack last year Smith wanted to give his two iconic characters a proper send off in a movie that makes fun of remakes and reboots while being that very thing, enter Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) run afoul of the law again and wind up in court, where they discover that they are being used once again for their likeness to make a reboot of their comic book alter egos: Bluntman & Chronic. So in true rehash fashion the pair make a trek to Hollywood in order to stop the film from being made. Along the way as in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back they meet a slew of people, mostly cameos of famous actors that director Smith claims only appear in because they felt sorry that he almost died. They also meet Jay’s illegitimate daughter Milly (Harley Quinn Smith) and her friends who are looking to tag along in order to attend Chronic-Con where a portion of the new film Bluntman v. Chronic movie is being filmed. All manner of hijinks ensue as we end up in Hollywood where the rapid fire cameos continue to the Marvel-esque ending that may or may not finally put an end to the two stoners that leaned on that convenience store wall 25 years ago.
Again as a fan of Smith I certainly understood that this movie was going to check all the boxes that Smith covered in his previous work and in his podcasts. What ended up happening was that I was right, and I had seen it all this before, and not because it was a reboot. Nothing was really surprising, in fact much like his character of Holden McNeil from Chasing Amy who only wrote funny books as a place holder til he had something meaningful to say, Smith does the same with Reboot. There is no substance and the humor is good for smirks because I have heard it all before, and it was funny then, not now.
The theme of the film is about parenthood, but most of it is manipulative and not even to the point to make you kinda care. Interestingly enough the heart of the film’s message comes not from the Jay or Milly character but from Holden McNeil himself played once again by Ben Affleck. He gives a solid monologue about being a parent and even throws some cahtartic jabs at himself in the process. It was the only time I felt like I did watching Smith’s first four films, back when he had something to say. It’s also not lost on me that because I know so much about the man and listen to him talk about a barrage of subjects on a weekly basis that this film is more for him than it is for me. Still I was looking to be entertained and only wound up with a very mild case of nostalgia.
On a more personal note, I am really glad he is still making films, after over a dozen of them I can honestly say I have enjoyed the majority of them. And I’m even looking forward to his just announced Clerks III which will be the eighth time Jay and Silent Bob would have appeared in his films. They’ll be right up there with Rocky and Harry Potter. Not bad for a Jersey Boy.