Starring: Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith. And a ton of cameos ranging from The Comic Book Men, The Cast Of Clerks, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Shannon Elizabeth, all the way to Chris Hemsworth, Tommy Chong, and a very special guest at the end.
Directed By: Kevin Smith
Where i Watched It: Amazon
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Narrated By: A Robot
Description Provided By: A company that didn’t want to be associated with its own audio description, so it didn’t bother to attach itself in the credits.
The plot: It’s been a while since we last enjoyed the adventures of Jay and Silent Bob, so Kevin Smith takes this opportunity to do an incredibly self aware reboot that brings our long dormant duo back as they seek to regain control of their own names, just as a reboot of Bluntman and Chronic is set to drop at Chronicon, directed by the worst director in history. That guy who directed Bop Out.
What Works: Never afraid to make fun of himself, Kevin Smith calls back so many of his previous works here, as well as tropes like casting his own daughter in his films and the nepotism behind that. For fans of Kevin Smith, this is less of a coherent or triumphant return to his glory days, and more of a reminder of the fact that he still exists, he’s been paying attention to all the feedback, and he has some thoughts.
This self referential reason to give Jason Mewes something to do is a fairly hilarious look at everything from white nationalism to crazed Walking Dead fans. Kevin Smith leaves no stone unturned, or no turn un-stoned. The pot references are strong, which they should be for a franchise that features prominent characters like Bluntman and Chroninc.
But at the end of the day, it’s a silly comedy. Some of the jokes willl absolutely work for you, and the more steeped you are in the Askewniverse then you’l be able to get all the little references. If this is your first foray into Kevin Smith, I’m not sure this will make a damn bit of sense. no matter how much you might like stoner films.
What Doesn’t Work: As with films that are structured mostly around gags, and comedy bits, some will be funnier than others. And the need for the movie to be paced almost like a sketch comedy film, loaded with celebrity cameos, leaves the plot fairly thin. So instead, we had to keep a pretty simple plot and then build all these gags around what is essentially a road trip film with a dash of fatherhood thrown in. Everything else is just getting from one joke to the next, from one cameo to the next.
Like I said, this really comes dow to how much you wanted to see Jay and Silent Bob again, and how big of fans you are. It lacks the same kind of biting satire Smith nailed with Dogma, or even when he went out of his typical genre with Red State. It’s basically Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Twenty Years Later.
The Blind Perspective: I chose this film for its incredibly robotic audio description. This was my first experience with an Alexa/Siri narrator, and I’m not pleased. Not only is it very obvious that the description isn’t human, but the description is lazy. Silent Bob is a non verbal character that needs a lot of audio description. He gets some, like when he motions a blow job hand gesture, but we get less of performative facial expressions. I guess he just stands there like a lump on a log or something.
The mall rats scene lacked description when something was probably thrown at an actual rat. There’s a sound effect, but the audio description doesn’t seek to clarify that at all. We frequently end up with transitions to new locations without warning or knowledge of how or where we got here, or what characters are in the scene.
And when we get to the credits, after the cast is listed, the description stops. Nothing out of the ordinary with that, but we do have outtakes/deleted scenes and in that section there isn’t any description for like 15 outtakes until suddenly the robot wakes up and decides to rejoin the living. Then finally at the end, very end, there is no mention of who made this audio description, who wrote it, or what they would call this narrator. no one wanted to be associated with the audio description for this project.
While I’m sure the directors of the world wish this wasn’t true, audio description is often reflective of their work. It’s something they currently have no control over, but i would assume quality directors would want their film always represented in the best light so all of their audiences can enjoy their film. It’s why all films should have audio description in the first place. Without it, some of the films are very unwatchable. I think the solution is for these directors to know that sub-par audio description affects how we see the film, and the fact that we may not purchase the film for the long term as a result, or watch the sequel, or bother to recommend the film should bother them.
Bad audio description lowers the quality of the film. Great audio description, the right narrator, can actually compliment the project. This one hurts Kevin Smith. And he should care. We as a community deserve access to all titles and deserve to have the audio description. If you’re going to refuse to pay humans, this kind of description proves that however this was done doesn’t work, and this probably cheaper way isn’t making anything better. it’s making it worse.
Final Thoughts: I love Kevin Smith, even when I’m not a fan of all his works. I didn’t hate Jersey Girl. But this film has very spotty (to put it nicely) robotic audio description that was just gross and poorly produced.
Final Grade: B-