Before seeing Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, there was a video message from writer/director Kevin Smith and star Jay Mewes, both known best for playing Jay and Silent Bob. In the video message, Smith talked about the heart attack he had in February of 2018 and how when he was lying in his hospital bed one of his biggest regrets was not making a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Watching Reboot, you can’t help but feel that this was a movie made by a man on the verge of death who wanted to settle some demons and check off some things on his bucket list. There is a sadness, sentimentality, and heart to this film that has never existed in a Smith film before. Smith wanted to write his own eulogy and he did so here with Reboot.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is a Kevin Smith highlight reel. A never-ending homage to his films from the past that features all of his regulars, dozens of callback references, and even some of his favorite characters from his past films all coming together in the most Kevin Smithian way possible. This is one of Smith’s less-amusing films in the View Askew (his production company) pipeline, but this is a movie that has a lot to say about life, movies, and parenting and one that feels like it could be the finale of Smith’s career.
The plot of the movie is all but irrelevant, as it follows Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) as they travel from New Jersey to Hollywood to stop the reboot of Bluntman and Chronic, the film they initially went to Hollywood to try and stop being made, so they can get their names of Jay and Silent Bob back after they were taken in a bizarre court case. The plot basically vanishes about halfway through the movie and I don’t actually think Jay and Silent Bob accomplished what they wanted, but that’s not the point here. The point was to represent Jay and Silent Bob, the two dopey, lovable stoners and most recognizable two-some in Smith’s arsenal. This is a classic stoner duo and people have forgotten that and Smith wants us all to remember why we love them. Mewes and Smith know these characters like the back of their hands and they both give wonderful performances.
But Reboot is really a movie about growing up, parenting, and maturing. We find out early in the movie that Jay had a child with his love interest from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Justice (Shannon Elizabeth) and his whole world is flipped upside down. The child, who is named Millennium Falcon and is played by Smith’s comic-book-named Harley Quinn Smith, tags along on the road trip with Jay and Silent Bob and Jay must quickly reevaluate his life. Known for his vulgar, blunt way of talking and idiocy, Jay must mature immediately so he can be a good father to Millennium, even if he hasn’t been there for her whole life. It isn’t a full transition, as Jay still says things that will get your head scratching, but you can he the maturation grow right on screen. I don’t know the extent of Smith and his daughter’s relationship, but it really felt like Smith was apologizing for his failures as a father and wanted to show his refocused energy on being a good father. This was a very touching piece of the film and the film’s emotional core.
Reboot features characters and cameos from actors and characters from Smith’s career. From Holden McNeil to Brodie, from Joey Lauren Adams to Matt Damon to Melissa Benoist, everyone and anyone who has ever worked with Smith shows up. Hell, Smith even gets a cameo in there from an Avenger. Not going to say which one, but it’s a pretty great cameo. All of his friends showed up for his funeral and they all pay their respects while Smith bares his soul about maturing and being a good parent as well as everything from reboots, remakes, Russians, and Comic-Con.
If this is in fact Smith’s final film, it will have been a great send-off for the director, as the film finishes with Jay and Silent Bob kicking it in front of the Quick Stop, exactly how we met them and exactly where they belong.
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