Kevin Smith and friends have gone Meta. The underdog director who brought us slacker hero classics like Clerks and Mallrats – as well as a bizarre and beloved philosophical turn in the form of Dogma – is almost as well known as his alter ego, Silent Bob. The nearly-mute man-mountain has been appearing alongside sidekick Jay – played by Jason Mewes, the ultimate self-sourcing method actor – since the ‘90s. Both of them also exist in Smith’s fiction-within-fiction, appearing in superhero form as Bluntman and Chronic, a pair of best-selling comic book heroes created by Holden and Banky of Chasing Amy. The View Askew-niverse is a wonderfully layered and sometimes contradictory place, and this is the latest layer to hit the screen. Jay and Bob’s alter egos already exist in real comic book form, released in the aftermath of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Now, they’ve their own full-length super groovy cartoon movie.
So, how does it look?
And there you have it. The film seems to be a vehicle for Smith (and probably Mewes) to let his grinning silliness run riot. It’s pure indulgence, an expression of complete, uncaring freedom that has to be a rare thing for a director to be able to enjoy. Unfortunately, unless you’re a hardcore fan of Smith’s very particular brand of humour and style, it’s a little tired from the get-go.
Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is an all-out, no-holds-barred Smith-style joke-fest with no big-screen qualms, even happily branding itself The worst thing to happen to superhero movies since Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern. It’s incredibly crude, incredibly sexual and massively meat-headed, and a hefty chunk of movie-goers will probably find it downright offensive. Smith will care about none of this, because that’s who he is and how he rolls. His fans will be the same. Unless you’re one of them, however, and in the most die-hard sense, it’s unlikely you’ll be too excited about the upcoming screenings.
Originally shown as part of a tour backed up by Q&A sessions – another of Smith’s key traits is his accessibility and dedication to his audience – beginning in April 2013, it will make three appearances in England this month – the first was at Calston Hall – introduced by Smith and Mewes themselves, followed by a planned DVD release in September. Even if the film does nothing for you, it’s usually worth a trip to hear two of the film world’s most interesting characters discuss their work – Mewes has a chequered backstory to rival any protagonist and Smith’s largely improvised insights into the workings of Hollywood are legendarily hilarious. If you’re still not convinced, or happen to consider yourself polite and tasteful, don’t bother.