New Jersey stoners Jay and Silent Bob head to Hollywood to try and stop a movie about characters based on their likeness. Hilarity ensues.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Written and Directed by Kevin Smith
This movie is like an all-star game of B- and C-list actors, highlighted by a couple of A-listers slumming it as a favor to a friend. And I love every minute of it.
Kevin Smith returns to the Jersey well here for his fifth film in the View Askewniverse, giving himself and his friend Jason Mewes starring roles this time around. Building on the story in Chasing Amy, where two comic creators base a series around the stoner pair, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK finds the Bluntman & Chronic comic such a success that Hollywood has decided to make a movie out of it.
The story is really secondary to all the people he got to be involved in the film, though. Smith manages to weave a story around a series of vignettes featuring a whole bunch of various famous people. Some of them have appeared in previous Kevin Smith films, like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, George Carlin, Chris Rock and Jason Lee. But so many of the cameos in the film are from people making their first appearance in a Kevin Smith New Jersey film.
Some of my favorite cameos in the film:
Marc Blucas, Matthew James, Jane Silvia and Carmen Llywelyn – While Jay and Silent Bob are hitchhiking from Jersey to Hollywood, they get picked up by a smoky van that looks suspiciously like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. Sure enough, inside the van are two guys, two girls and a Great Dane. While the characters are never called by name, there’s no subtlety to who they’re supposed to be. It’s a fun little sight gag playing off the joke that Shaggy and Scooby were stoned all the time on the cartoon.
Tracy Morgan – Another quick cameo in the film has Morgan as Pumpkin Escobar (a name Morgan reportedly came up with himself), a weed dealer in Hollywood that Jay and Silent Bob run into as they approach Miramax Studios. Morgan’s detached nature feels like a perfect fit for Jay & Silent Bob movie, and the scene where Jay describes their adventures to him (“Man… I don’t know what the FUCK you just said, little kid, but you’re special man, you reached out, and you touch a brother’s heart”) gets me every time.
Jason Biggs and James Van Der Beek – Playing themselves as the stars playing movie versions of Jay and Silent Bob’s alter egos Bluntman and Chronic, Biggs and the Beek spend all of their screen time poking fun at their real-life selves. Their scenes are chock-full of references to American Pie and Dawson’s Creek (“You wouldn’t last a DAY on the Creek! A day!”) and little jabs at themselves.
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher – The first time since Return of the Jedi that Luke and Leia appear in a movie together, even if they don’t share any scenes. Fisher plays a nun who picks Jay and Silent Bob up on the road, only to kick them out when Jay tries to go down on her for repayment. Hamill, on the other hand, plays himself portraying the villainous Cocknocker in the Bluntman and Chronic movie, getting increasingly annoyed by all the Star Wars ripoffs in the film.
Gus Van Sant and Wes Craven – The two directors were staples at Miramax at the time, making appearances as Jay and Silent Bob ran through the studio, disrupting sequels that were being filmed. Craven was making a new Scream movie with Shannon Dougherty (“A monkey? Wes? Jesus, you’re not even trying anymore are you?”) while Van Sant is on the set of Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season, counting his money and ignoring what’s happening on set with Affleck and Damon.
There’s something nice about watching a guy have fun creating stories starring his friends. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK is absurd, profane and lots of fun for fans of Kevin Smith’s movies. With the sequel to this coming out later this year, I’m hoping for the same kind of experience.