I had the pleasure of attending the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Fathom event last night. The theater was only a quarter full. Hopefully not a sign of the movie’s success. This was a Tuesday night in a small area. The Reboot Roadshow showings are selling out FAST. Even as more screenings find their way to the schedule. Kevin Smith fans may be holding out for the attached Q&A.
Instead of trailers or ads before the show I was happy to see Kevin Smith/View Askew trivia going. That excitement lasted about ninety seconds when the few tid bits were on repeat. Again and again. Finally the lights went down and the event started.
The Fathom Event screenings open with a long intro by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. The excitement Smith has for his latest movie is not an act. There’s genuine love in what he created. At this stage in his career he creates for his dedicated audience, he even acknowledges so in the intro. It’s been 18 years since Jay and Silent Bob led a movie. Thirteen years since a big screen appearance of their comedic duo. In all that time Smith’s career has transformed. Podcaster and personality more than writer and filmmaker. He’s been a big part of the Berlantiverse and is helming a couple series based on IP.
A remake of Bluntman and Chronic is underway. Because of the new movie Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) lose the rights to their own names. They decide to travel cross country, stop the reboot from happening, and reclaim their identities. Sound familiar? That’s the whole point. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is a sequel, reboot, and remake all in one. While at the same time making fun of this trend in Hollywood.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot has more heart than previous Smith films
A little more heart shines in this version of the movie. Many story lines focus around the live action cartoon characters getting older. Jay finds out he has a child, Milly (Harley Quinn Smith). The duo bring Milly and her notably diverse friends to Hollywood with them to attend Chronic Con.
Being a sequel/reboot to Strike Back we’re reintroduced to a lot of familiar faces. More than a sequel/reboot this is a celebration of the life/career of Kevin Smith. Everyone from the industry he’s worked with or influenced shows up in Reboot. It’s a true testament to the man’s character at exactly how many cameos there are. As a long time View Askew fan it’s great seeing the old familiar faces. As a Kevin Smith fan it’s fun seeing people from the other parts of his life and career come play. This write up would be as long as the movie’s script if I took the time to list every last cameo. Besides, seeing who pops in next is a large part of the experience.
Anyone who follows Smith knows that Ben Affleck reprises his role as Holden McNeil. The Holden scene tugs at the heartstrings as old friends make good. Holden has a heart to heart to Jay about fatherhood. Both emotional beats play strong in the movie and for the men behind the characters. Hammering it home, the little girl in the scene is Jason Mewes real life daughter, Logan.
Smith making the movie with his daughter is sweet. Even if Harley isn’t the strongest actor. Making it a family affair makes a long time fan feel more attached to the movie. Adding in the father/daughter dynamic brings more depth to the story as well. Smith’s wife and mother also appear in the movie. More family makes the emotional strength, for those who know, even better.
Smith steps right back into his View Askew comedy and dialogue patterns. Sharp wit and expansive vocabulary pepper dick jokes endlessly. The ignorance of Jay is played up. The pop culture references cut deep.
Being the epitome of fan service is wonderful for the fans, by definition. But being a fan service movie can ostracize potential new audience members. In a case like this, it may not matter. It’d be like watching Endgame as your first Marvel movie. Individual sequences could be enjoyed. Without the history behind it all, the movie may not work for you. Some of the performances and editing come off stiff. A movie filled with so many cameos means that the scenes can feel like a bunch of individual punch lines put in order.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is like seeing your old friends for the first time in a long time. Feeling that familiar sense of home and belonging. You reminisce on the old stories. Laugh at the old jokes. Your group speaks in a dialect unique to a select few. This is where the movie really pays off.