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Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Year: 2019
Production Co: Destro Films
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Cast: Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Harley Quinn Smith, Val Kilmer, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Joey Lauren Adams, Tommy Chong, Shannon Elizabeth, James Van Der Beek, Jason Biggs, Jason Lee, Fred Armisen, Diedrich Bader, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Garman, Justin Long, Method Man, Joe Manganiello, Brian O'Halloran, Redman, Craig Robinson, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Molly Shannon, Chris Hemsworth, Melissa Benoist

The whole time Kevin Smith was talking this movie up on his podcasts and in his Q&A's, the joke he constantly cracked was he's made exactly the same movie he made 20 years ago with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Only instead of a movie about the stoner duo going to Hollywood to stop a movie being made about them, it's a reboot about them going to Hollywood to stop a reboot of the movie that was made about them.

It's all very metatextual about Hollywood, movies and reboots, but that makes it sound cleverer than it is. Like all Smith's work, there's nothing deeply clever about it, just him wielding the same tools he's used wince the View Askew days – worn-in characters and potty-mouthed, pop culture-aware dialogue.

This time however, there's a fairly sweet subplot about a young woman, Millennium Falcon (Harley Quinn Smith) who's never known her father and has no idea it's actually loser Jay (Jason Mewes) after a roll in the hay with her mother (Shannon Elizabeth) a few decades before.

Like last time, Jay and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are still hanging around in front of the Quick Stop selling weed – except they've appropriated a fake chicken restaurant next door to deal out of – when they learn a Hollywood studio is rebooting the big screen adaptation of Bluntman and Chronic, the comic strip based on them from years before, and once again they set about going to stop it.

Driving across the country, they call in on Jay's former flame and learn about the daughter he didn't know he had, Millennium (Milly). Her mother makes him promise not to let the girl in on the secret, but Milly demands that Jay and Bob take her and a coterie of friends across the country to Hollywood so one of them can attend the event based on the comic, Chronic-Con.

The father/daughter subplot gives it a little bit of emotional urgency, even though Smith handles it with as much delicate aplomb as a butcher processing a side of beef, everything that will transpire telegraphed cack-handedly from miles away.

That's the bare bones of the story, anyway. The asides and add-ons from one of Milly's friends turning out to be a Japanese assassin to the Ku Klux Klan set piece with the Glengarry Glenn Ross homage are by turns weird, funny and tacked on – often all three at once.

Smith's deficiencies as a writer have always been about structure. Tusk and Yoga Hosers failed creatively not because of their premises – far sillier ideas have succeeded on screen – but because of the way he fumbled the execution. There are always rough edges in individual lines and characters and in the performances because of the way he constantly surrounds himself with friend and family members, not all of whom can act, but the backbone of this movie is more coherent and cohesive than anything he's done in a long time.

Or, if you want to just look at the surface, there are enough Star Wars, sex and Hollywood gags to give you a few chuckles, and that's undoubtedly want Smith wanted the film to do.

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