'Jay and Silent Bob Reboot' - the Film

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The View Askewniverse Films of Kevin Smith:

Clerks | Mallrats | Chasing Amy | Dogma | Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back | Clerks II | Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019) is the seventh and, to date last, film in the View Askewniverse. It is a film that describes the fundamental differences between a Remake, Reboot and Sequel while nevertheless managing to be all three. 105-minutes long, like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back it is set between the Quick Stop and Mall in Leonardo, New Jersey and Hollywood California, via Chicago, with the film in many ways a remake of the earlier film in the series Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, yet having had added youth and diversity and being made with love and affection rather than being a pure cash-in, it is a reboot instead.

Plot

After being arrested for growing marijuana, their lawyer tricks them into signing away their rights to their own names, revealing he was hired by Saban Films to acquire the rights to their names, Jay and Silent Bob, so that they can reboot the fictional Bluntman and Chronic film, which was based on their fictional namesakes. This is to be filmed by director Kevin Smith. Learning that a key scene for this film is due to be made at this year's Chronic-Con Bluntman and Chronic convention, Silent Bob and Jay travel to Hollywood by using a 'Ride Me' app, planning on stopping the reboot of the film they had previously tried to stop. However having legally lost their names they are forced to travel under the name 'Todd Underhill'

After stopping at a Mooby's Restaurant and watching the television they discover that the love of Jay's life, Justice, with whom he had lost touch due to a misunderstanding, had become a Chicago weather presenter. Tracking her down Jay learns that he had fathered a child, Millennium Faulken, called 'Milly' for short, however Justice makes him promise not to tell her that he is her father, and Justice is now happily married. When she learns that Silent Bob and Jay are travelling to Chronic-Con she and her friends from her support group, Jihad, Soapy and Shan Yu, force themselves along too. The reason Milly was in the support group was because of being abandoned by her father.

Can Jay connect with his daughter? What adventures will they experience and who is secretly wearing a catsuit under their clothes? Will vegan Silent Bob be able to order anything he can eat in a Mooby's burger restaurant? Can Silent Bob disguise himself as Kevin Smith? Who else will cameo along the way?

Dramatis Personæ

I hate this guy [Kevin Smith]. He forces his kid to be in everything he makes.

CharacterActor
Jay, inspiration for comic character Chronic coming to terms with being a fatherJason Mewes
Silent Bob, vegan inspiration for comic character Bluntman} Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith, overrated director
Millennium 'Milly' Faulken, Jay's secret lovechild with Justice Harley Quinn Smith
Brodie Bruce, comic book store ownerJason Lee
Holden McNeil, comic book author and Amy's father Ben Affleck
Alyssa Jones, Amy's motherJoey Lauren Adams
Justice Faulken, Jay's former partner, Milly's mother and Reggie's wifeShannon Elizabeth
LawyerJustin Long
Dante Hicks, Quick Stop manager} Brian O'Halloran
Grant Hicks, newsreader
Miss McKenzie, Mooby's ManagerJennifer Schwalbach Smith
Judge Jerry N ExecutionerCraig Robinson
Jihad, member of the support groupAparna Brielle
Soapy, Milly's deaf best friend met in support groupTreshelle Edmond
Shan Yu, Chinese exchange student in support groupAlice Wen
Todd 'Merkin' Merkinsky, 'Ride Me' driver Fred Armisen
Loki, former angel now reborn Matt Damon
Reggie Faulken, Justice's wife Rosario Dawson
Reboot BluntmanVal Kilmer
Reboot ChronicMelissa Benoist
James Van Der Beek, actor who had appeared in Bluntman & ChronicJames Van Der Beek
Jason Biggs, actor who blames Kevin Smith for ruining his career with Jersey GirlJason Biggs
Chris Hemsworth, actor appearing as a hologram Chris Hemsworth
Alfred, Bluntman & Chronic's ButlerTommy Chong
Alyssa's partnerVirginia Smith
Amy, Alyssa and Holden's daughterLogan Lee Mewes
Stan Lee, comic book legendStan Lee

Remaking the Reboot

Stan Lee had been intended to play a pivotal role at Chronic-Con, however he died before he was able to film his scenes. A poignant mid-credits scene shows both Smith and Lee discuss the role and Lee reads his first line from the script. Fittingly, this lets Lee get, if not the last laugh of film, one of the last. (The film ends by revealing who had gummed the locks up in Clerks, 25 years earlier.)

Instead of the scenes to have featured Stan Lee, Ben Affleck returns playing Holden McNeill with Joey Lauren Adams again as Alyssa Jones in a scene written while filming was underway, reuniting the stars of Chasing Amy. Although different interviews given by Smith seem to give different messages, from that they had simply drifted apart to had a major falling out, it appears that Affleck and Smith had fallen out and not spoken for a decade following Kevin Smith reporting that Affleck had said when filming the scene in Chasing Amy in which he kissed Jason Lee words to the effect of 'A man kissing another man is the greatest acting challenge an actor can ever face', which when taken out of context led to Affleck being accused of homophobia1. After reading an interview in which Affleck said he would like to appear in Smith's next film, Smith contacted him and offered him the role, later describing the experience with the words, 'I got my best friend back again'. After initially wondering what role to cast Affleck in, as every character had been cast with the exception of Cocknocker, Smith wrote what he felt the fans would most want to see.

The film was distributed by Saban Films in the United States and Universal Pictures elsewhere. The courtroom scene discusses how Saban, the company behind the Bluntman and Chronic reboot, is best known for Power Rangers.

Reboot Review

A paean to fatherhood, this film is full of references to Kevin Smith's real life, mocking how he had been thrown off a commercial airline because of his weight, his near-fatal heart-attack and subsequent conversion to veganism. His real-life daughter Harley Quinn Smith's character Millie also states how she hates Kevin Smith films for always featuring his daughter who is now supposed to be an 'actress', while Jason Mewes' daughter also cameos, playing Amy. In the film Smith, playing Kevin Smith, states how it was much easier to get celebrities to agree to cameo in this film following his near-death.

In the film Brodie explains the difference between a Remake and Reboot. Remakes are a new version of a classic film which take the title and nothing else from an existing film and, by purely being a cash-in, results in both a poor film and ruining the reputation of the original. A reboot, on the other hand, maintains everything that was cared for in the original but adds both youth and diversity. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, as a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, therefore is a reboot about a reboot; as well as featuring many of the same cast as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back but with an added young, diverse cast, it includes a film-inside-the-film which is a reboot.

One way the film excels is how Jay's daughter Milly is in many ways remarkably similar to her father, despite having a completely different, privileged background. Like Jay she has a silent best friend, Soapy, who is played by deaf actress Treshelle Edmond. There are numerous nods to previous films, including the very first View Askew logo of the creepy cross-dressing clown2. There are even references to films outside the View Askewniverse, with the lawyer apparently a reappearing character from Zack and Miri Make a Porno3. Melissa Benoist, the star of television series Supergirl (2015+) also appears as the female Chronic; Smith has directed episodes of her television series.

The film contains numerous references to earlier films in the View Askew series, which is fantastic for fans who have grown up with these films over the last 25 years but makes it hard to follow for those for whom this is the first film in the series that they have seen. Obviously it contains a Star Wars moment, with Jay's daughter is named 'Millennium Faulken'. Other comic references include mention of the Marvel film series as well as Silent Bob turning into 'Iron Bob', a la Iron Man.

Once again Silent Bob gives a lengthy speech at a key moment, this time to distract the members of the Ku Klux Klan for long enough for Jay to rescue the girls. The one weak point in the film is it never reveals quite how or why the girls were kidnapped by the Klan, especially considering how they are otherwise always shown as being more than capable of defending themselves, carrying weapons, knocking assailants out and defeating well-equipped Russian spies.

The film easily passes Bechdel Test.

1Jason Lee had a beard at the time.2Obviously it is the fact that he is a clown that is creepy, not that he is wearing stockings and suspenders.3Technically Smith does not own the copyright to that film and so is unable to explicitly state that he is the same character.

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