Those familiar with Smith's work will recognize Jay and Silent Bob as bit players dispensing comic relief in his other films. Here, they prove they're best in small doses. Mewes provides the rare amusing moment, his machine-gun mouth spewing out one idiotically misogynist or homophobic sentiment after another, his unabashedly adolescent barbs occasionally eliciting a guilty laugh. But "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" belongs to the "Scary Movie"/"Dude, Where's My Car?" school of filmmaking: throw out enough jokes and some of them will stick.
With myriad special guests peppering the proceedings, Smith's film makes obvious light of the cult of celebrity. But other than the cameos, he's dusted off characters from his other efforts--whether as self-homage or because he couldn't come up with anything new is hard to say. His previous two films ("Chasing Amy" and "Dogma") were near-misses, ultimately dragged down by his penchant for long-winded, over-explanatory dialogue that spoon-feeds his message to viewers. Afraid his audience doesn't possess the power to read between the lines, he offers so many of his own explications that there's no squeezing anything between them. There's a similar problem with this film, though it's no message movie. Smith should take a lesson from Silent Bob: sometimes less is more. Starring Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith. Directed and written by Kevin Smith. Produced by Scott Mosier. A Dimension release. Comedy. Rated R for nonstop crude and sexual humor, pervasive strong language, and drug content. Running time: 99 min