If you’ve read any reviews or reactions thus far, you’ve likely seen critics chastising Jay and Silent Bob Reboot for being a movie aimed at 45-year-old slacker types hungry for dick and fart jokes. Well, that’s not entirely inaccurate. But the movie being targeted to a specific audience has unfairly been spun as a negative, an easy takedown of Kevin Smith’s scrappy View Askewniverse that made waves in the ’90s and early aughts for its crass crudity. Yet, however lowbrow, why would we want Reboot to be anything but?
When we’re reintroduced to Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), the duo’s getting busted by the cops for their marijuana grow house they’ve set up in the old RST Video Store. They wind up in court with a lawyer (Justin Long) who gets them cleared from the drug charges, but in doing so manipulates them to unintentionally sign their naming rights away to a film studio looking to produce a massive Bluntman and Chronic reboot. After Brodie (Jason Lee) tells them the reboot is shooting a major scene at a fan convention aptly called Chronic-Con in Los Angeles, the two hit the road to put an end to the production before Hollywood can further sully their names.
If you’re the type of fan who’s been following the ‘verse for decades, Reboot is up your alley. There are tons of familiar faces (which I won’t spoil), with actors from many other Smith movies showing face. Clerks, Mallrats, and Dogma fans will be particularly tickled. Some play new characters, but most of them reprise older roles playing hard on the nostalgia factor, but also working the “reboot-within-a-reboot” angle the movie pushes. Reboot feels straight out of the ’90s thanks to its meta sensibilities, pop culture references (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead), Shannon Elizabeth appearance, and its fanfare over the Method Man/Redman weed comedy How High (which was technically released in 2001, but still).
The script does offer up a new twist that both ages Jay (in a good way) and gives him something new to consider in his slovenly stoner life. When the two see Justice (Elizabeth) on TV in her new role as a newscaster, they pop in to visit her on their way to Hollywood. She drops a bomb: Justice’s teenage daughter Milly is Jay’s, and unsurprisingly, Jay is nowhere near ready to become a dad.
After a few scuffles and a lot of swearing, Jay and Silent Bob agree to take Milly and her pals to Chronic Con which expands the movie’s universe and attempts to wrangle a “kids these days!” B-plot. With Milly’s friends in tow, including Jihad (Aparna Brielle) from Syria and Shan Yu (Alice Wen) from China, the script blatantly leans into Hollywood’s diversity discussion because yes, diversity is good and fine and see how diverse we are right now? It’s doubtful anyone’s looking to Smith to make a statement about diversity, but he tosses his two cents in and it works well enough.
The daughter element gives Jay a secret to keep until the movie’s third act, but it also softens him. Mewes has room to showcase some heart, humanizing Jay and allowing the character to introspect. Sure, a stoner-buddy-comedy doesn’t need interpersonal drama and tender familial moments—we all know what we’re here for—but it’s nice to see these characters have grown up at least a teeny bit since we first met them loitering outside a convenience store. (Don’t worry…there’s still plenty of dumbassery and blunt smoking to be had.)
A lot of the laughs come from Smith taking jabs at himself, (specifically, his movies Jersey Girl, Yoga Hosers, and Cop Out). Last year, he even said of Reboot, “It’s literally the same fucking movie all over again,” which is entirely true and also sort of amazing. In an industry full of reboots, remakes, and exhausting franchise sequels, Reboot both mocks Hollywood while simultaneously and predictably following its footsteps. It’s a satisfying sequel-or-reboot-or-whatever with heaps of self-awareness and self-flagellation. If you’re a Smith fan, you likely know what you’re in for. In that case…you know the drill: $15 bucks, little man, put that shit in Smith’s hand. If that money doesn’t show, then you owe him owe him owe. Grade: B
Get tickets for the Jay & Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow: ►► http://bit.ly/reboot-rs The stoner icons who first hit the screen 25 years ago in CLERKS are back! When Jay and Silent Bob discover that Hollywood is rebooting an old movie based on them, the clueless duo embark on another cross-country mission to stop it all over again!