Written & Directed by Kevin Smith
Starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, Jason Mewes, & Kevin Smith
Release Date: April 4, 1997
Running Time: 1hr 53min
Holden McNeil (Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Lee) are the creators of the successful comic book series, Bluntman and Chronic (based on Jay and Silent Bob, who get paid likeness rights). Their partnership/friendship hits a serious bump when Holden falls for fellow comic book artist, Alyssa Jones (Adams), who identifies as a lesbian, and the two become fast friends.
Eventually, Holden confesses his feelings, and while Alyssa is at first hostile, the two begin a romantic relationship. Banky (still not happy with how Holden and Alyssa’s relationship has put a rift in their friendship) discovers that Alyssa has a sordid sexual past, something Holden has a hard time dealing with.
At the time of release, the film was highly successful, earning $12 million against a $250,000 budget, and earned a lot of critical praise. It won two Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Lee) and Adams was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy).
This was a movie that took multiple viewings and time to grow on me, I was a bit lukewarm to it at first. I would say the major reason was that I was 11 or 12 when I first saw it and was expecting something along the lines of Mallrats (my first Kevin Smith movie, which I saw at age 9). While this does have plenty of funny moments, it’s a lot more serious compared to Mallrats and Clerks, and at that age I wasn’t so much into serious things (as I imagine many kids aren’t).
When Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was coming out, I was 13, and wanted to refresh myself and rewatch all the previous films with the lovable stoner duo. Amazing how much of a difference two years (and the horrors of puberty) can have on a person, since by that point I had a greater appreciation for how good the film was.
All three leads give solid performances and have great chemistry with each other (makes sense that Smith wrote the roles for them). The writing is as solid as I expect from Kevin Smith, laced with pop culture references, crude language, and poignancy. The directing isn’t exactly dynamic, but with these kind of movies I’m not expecting John Woo style filmmaking. I feel Smith took a major step in maturity with this film, even if it it’s still laced here and there with dick jokes (not that I’m complaining).