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During the recession in the 80's there was a score of horror films and raunchy comedies that rolled off the studio assembly lines. It was as if Hollywood honchos conspired with the government to create a slew of media that would lull people into forgetting about their financial woes. This latest economic slump has brought us another generation of such fare; in the last two weeks alone, there have been three damn flicks in which two or more people frantically travel cross-country, or through at least one state, surrounded by an onslaught of guest appearances and cameos comparable to a special two-hour Love Boat episode.

The controversial man-behind-the-curtain for the movies Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma, Kevin Smith, brings us Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. This movie brings the quirky and foul-mouthed anti-super heroes, Jay (Jason Mewes) and his "hetero-lifemate" Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), mere side characters in his other projects, into the limelight. When a comic book based on these New Jersey-proud stoners, called Bluntman and Chronic, is about to get made into a movie and, in anticipation, gets a lot of nasty slack from arm-chair critiques on the internet, the two go on a crusade to Hollywood to 'clear their good name'.

Part masturbatory homage to Smith's film repertoire and part critique of Hollywood with a pinch of satire thrown in (particularly of Star Wars), this comedy is a whacked out buddy-film that at times feels more like a long inside-joke than a welcoming farewell dinner. The self-indulgent Smith constantly chuckles at his and the other actors' movies (it's almost as if they were all standing around the fireplace in one of their dens wearing smoking jackets and drinking cognac while they giggled like foppish schoolboys at their days of yore, "Oh, tee-hee-hee, I recall that film Ben, what a hoot! ---Absolutely, Kevin. I say, weren't we just sooo early nineties back then!") and simply assumes that the audience, especially loyal fans of his work, will care.

Despite the fact that I am a big fan, all the side jokes got old. Of course, there were a lot of very funny scenes, a ton of gratuitous T & A (mainly of very sexy women in a fierce girl gang- Justice (Shannon Elizabeth), Sissy (Eliza Dushku), Chrissy (Ali Larter), and Missy (Jennifer Schwalbach) and some "mad note" from the eighties. One of the funnier moments involves the Scooby-Doo Gang and deals with several common suspicions, one being that Wilma is a big 'ol dyke. Half of the Saturday Night Live cast also make appearances including: Will Ferrell as a Federal Wildlife Marshall, Chris Rock as Chaka Luther King, Jr., an irate young black director, and Tracy Morgan as a crack dealer and member of the United Jersey Brotherhood of Dealers. Buttressing the Star Wars theme is Carrie Fisher as a helpful nun and Mark Hamill as Cock-Knocker in an uproarious scene that prompts Chaka to state, "Damn- George Lucas is gonna sue somebody!" These comedians along with a myriad of others like Jon Stewart, George Carlin, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Jason Biggs provide a strong support for Jay and Silent Bob. But the two characters work much better in smaller doses, when they are less of a highlight and more of an accent.

This movie squeezed every foul statement and comic antic out of these guys, leaving them like dried up prunes on the theater floor. However, this was Smith's last installment of his New Jersey Chronicles series and he is putting this baby to rest. To his credit the writer/director states that, "It's time to put 'em away. I'm 30 now and it's the right moment to move on to something completely different." Maybe a little emotional farewell in the form of beating a dead horse was in order. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was the final extravaganza of an entertaining fireworks show and now there's nothing left but debris.



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Jay and Silent Bob
Strike Back
rated R
2 hours 00 minutes

Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
Jason Lee
Chris Rock
Shannon Elizabeth