When New Jersey stoners Jay and Silent Bob discover the internet, they discover not only that a film is being made of their lives, but that reaction to this news has provoked a slew of insults directed at them. So they head for LA to disrupt the making of the movie.
Jay and Silent Bob have been weaving their way through Kevin Smith's slack movie tapestry, from the early inspired days of Clerks, through to his recent, mostly panned, Catholic comedy, Dogma. In many ways in these films, they were among the funniest things on offer, blending a touching Tom 'n' Huck naivety with language that could peel paint.
The trouble is, Smith seems to have difficulty leaving the herbally-charged duo behind him. This, he says, is an attempt at closure - specifically a whole movie just for them, after which they will presumably retire to the great convenience store in the sky. But, as the internet dweebs presciently ask in the story, can these two support an entire movie? The answer is... sometimes.
Strike Back is an infuriatingly patchy experience, with moments of inspired foulness. Jay's rant in support of the "Coalition for the Liberation of Itinerant Tree-dwellers" (work it out for yourself) is a highlight, as is Chris Rock's angry, black film director ('They stole Sesame Street from me - I was going to call it Niggas Wid Puppets!).
But the gag hit/miss ratio is really only about 50/50 and the rambling, freewheeling plot is virtually non-existent at points. In the end, it's a kind of stoner Road To... movie, with considerably more references to bitch-slapping than was usual in the Hope/Crosby franchise.
Regulars from the previous movies pop in and out of the less-than-weighty narrative. Matt Damon and Ben Afflect stand out, seen here on the 'set' of Good Will Hunting 2, bitching about their careers ("That'll be your next movie about a gay, golfing serial killer who rides a horse?" Affleck snaps. "Two words: Reindeer Games," Damon retorts). But there are also whole expanses of mirthless celluloid, and, even after an extended Star Wars skit and a cameo by Mark Hamill (Carrie Fisher pops up earlier on), Smith appears to have absolutely no idea how to end it.
Distressingly uneven. Like the little girl with the curl, when it's good it's very, very good, but when it's bad it's - well, just gratuitously offensive. But tune out the dreck and there are enough laughs for it to be worthwhile.
Reviewed by Adam Smith
|Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back|