Bob Reboot

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019)

Short Jay and Silent Bob Reboot review originally intended for Sight & Sound, although I don’t believe it was published in the end

Review: Stoner buddies Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are what unifies Smith’s seven-film View Askewniverse – nine films if you count Steve Stark’s Smith-written animated feature Jay & Silent Bob’s Groovy Cartoon Movie! (2013) and Mewes’ metacinematic Mewes/Jay pseudo-biopic Madness In The Method (2019). Half the joke in this pairing is having the famously garrulous Smith reduced mostly to miming, while the other half is the sheer improbability of hapless Jay being able to achieve anything, let alone save the world (as he helps do in Dogma, 1999). 

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot not only reunites these friends 25 years after their first appearance in Clerks (1994), but also has them, older if not wiser, essentially retracing the journey to LA they made in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), then to stop a movie based on their comic book personae Bluntman and Chronic being made, now to stop its reboot.

So this is a reboot about reboots, as Jay and Silent Bob remake their own earlier film, while meeting their own maker (Smith, as himself) and versions of themselves as cartoons, as superheroes, as cosplaying fans and as genetic ‘reboots’ (Jay learns he has a teenaged daughter, played by Smith’s real-life daughter Harley Quinn Smith, who complains that Smith is always casting his daughter in his films). Unifying not just the Askewniverse films (with an incredible array of cameos from their actors), but also the Marvel, DC and Star Wars universes, this is an odd coupling of sophisticated all-consuming postmodernism and defiantly unfunny puerility.  

* * *

Synopsis: Jay and Silent Bob head from New Jersey to Los Angeles to stop a reboot of the 2001 film about their comic-book alter egos being made. On the way they pick up Millennium Faulken, the 18-year-old daughter Jay never knew he had, and encounter many old friends and curious characters. Jay meets the reboot’s director Kevin Smith, and embraces paternity.

© Anton Bitel