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JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson
Available separately or as part of the Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection box set

Stars:  Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrell, Jason Lee, Chris Rock
Director:  Kevin Smith
Audio:  PCM 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio:  Dimension
Features:  Commentary, Movie Showcase
Length:  104 Minutes
Release Date:  November 17, 2009

“Miramax optioned the rights to Bluntman and Chronic.”

“Miramax?  I thought they only made classy movies, like The Piano or The Crying Game!”

“Well, after they made She’s All That, everything went to hell.”

Film ***1/2

Kevin Smith owed his fans a love letter.  Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back is it.

Very few artists other than Smith would take his biggest budget to date…a whopping $20 million…and roll out a film that probably wouldn’t mean much to those who haven’t seen his first four films.  If you’re one of those who hasn’t, I can’t speak for you…I have  seen them all, and this, the fifth and final entry in his so-called New Jersey Trilogy, is just about the best treat a View Askew fan could ask for.

In one sentence, it’s a side-splitting, breath-inhibiting, tear-jearking, rib-aching, bladder control-losing, snort-producing roller coaster of laughs that proceeds from start to finish with an almost manic energy, unapologetic political incorrectness, an everything-is-fair-game attitude, with more inside jokes than a solo session of Dennis Miller standing in front of his bathroom mirror.

It was supposed to be the grand finale for those two lovable stoners turned pop icons, Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself).  They were the sidekicks in Clerks, living Warner Bros. cartoons in Mallrats, the conscience of Chasing Amy and the prophets of Dogma.  But for their fifth film, the screen is all theirs.

As fans will recall, Jay and Silent Bob were the inspiration behind the comic book creation Bluntman and Chronic, authored by friends Banky (Lee) and Holden (Affleck) (see:  Chasing Amy).  Now, the dumbfounded duo are about to become a movie, which has started up a plethora of hate-talk about the real Jay and Silent Bob on the internet.  Determined to save their good (?) names, the hetero life mates start the long journey west to Hollywood, with the intents of sabotaging the film!

I would like to say more, but to do so would ruin the fun.  Suffice to say, there are misadventures along the way, plenty of surprise appearances from View Askew’s past and other places, spoofs of everything from Charlie’s Angels to Planet of the Apes, and more…all told with Smith’s acute and rapid-fire wit.

The script is pure hijinks from start to finish, but equally noteworthy is the fact that Kevin Smith has never been in better form as a director.  Nervous about a $7 million budget for his second film Mallrats, he shows all the confidence of an established artist here, putting three times that money to much better use, and proving that he can be as adept with his camera as he can with a typewriter.

Now that I’ve praised Smith as writer and director, I’d also like to add that he must be one hell of a guy to have as a best friend as well.  I came to that conclusion watching some of the scenes he constructed for Jason Mewes with lovely Shannon Elizabeth…snootchie bootchies, indeed!

So what will the film mean to someone unversed in the View Askew vernacular?  Probably not as much.  Personally, I’d hate to have to watch it with a novice, and spend half my time explaining who these people are and why certain things are funny…though the commentary track might serve as a nice introduction to the characters and background stories.

So, consider this review for fellow fans.  Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back may be the most laughs you can get for your dollar.  Snoogams.

Video ****

Kevin Smith's most visually packed offering to date gets the treatment it deserves on this terrific Miramax Blu-ray release.  The colors are eye-popping, the scenery and detail level actually reflect that Smith was given an impressive $20 million budget to work with.  Images are crisp and clear throughout and this is one of the cleanest looking prints you're liable to see for a Kevin Smith picture.

Audio ****

With more action, bigger scenes, and terrific music, this Blu-ray audio offering also ups the stakes for a Kevin Smith movie.  You can listen to the original Dolby Digital or a new uncompressed 5.1 mix, but either way, you get plenty of use of the rear channels and subwoofer and lots of added punch from the action sequences and physical comedy.  Dialogue is clearly rendered against all effects and music...very nicely done!

Features *

What the hell happened here?  If Clerks represented one of the best uses of Blu-ray storage capacity, Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back is a staggering letdown.  The DVD issue was loaded; this gives you nothing but the commentary from Smith, Jason Mewes and Scott Mosier and a rather inane extra called "Movie Showcase" that takes you directly to scenes that best show off your high definition theatre.  That's it.  That sucks.

Summary:

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a fun filled romp that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray but really sucker-punches fans by removing all the extras we love and expect.  I love when I can retire a DVD copy of a movie for the Blu-ray, but in this case, I can't...there's no excuse for it.

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