JAY & SILENT BOB’S SUPER GROOVY CARTOON MOVIE
*1/2 (out of 5)
May 6, 2014
Jason Mewes as JAY / CHRONIC
Kevin Smith as SILENT BOB / BLUNTMAN
Eliza Dushku as LIPSTICK LESBIAN
Tara Strong as COCK KNOCKER
Ralph Garman as DICK HEAD
Neil Gaiman as ALFRED THE MANSERVANT
Ben Gleib as NEWSGROUP
Jon Lovitz as THE MAD SCIENTIST
Studio: SModcast Pictures
Directed by: Steve Stark
BY KEVIN CARR
I was only a few minutes into “Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie” that I regretted requesting to see it for review. Like many movies I review, I try to go into it cold, watching trailers only if necessary and not reading up on what to expect. As a viewer and a critic, I prefer to be surprised with what happens on screen, for better or for worse.
In the case of “Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie,” it was for worse. However, I don’t necessarily blame Kevin Smith for this film. I blame time. It may have been quite clever and hilarious a dozen or more years ago when it was conceived, written by a guy in his late 20s bucking the Hollywood system. Unfortunately, this just isn’t a movie that works in 2014.
“Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie” is an animated retelling of the “Bluntman & Chronic” comic book published in 2001 as a companion piece to “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.” These superhero alter-egos of his stand-by characters were actually originated by Smith for his comeback film “Chasing Amy” back in the late 1990s when he was still a maverick film director. Back then, pot-smoking, homophobic drug heroes worked and were hilarious. It was the stuff of indie comics.
As I understand, this is a relatively faithful adaptation of the comic book series, if you forgive some deviation from the story in the final act. I suppose that’s okay. This isn’t exactly Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” or Alan Moore’s “Watchman.” I don’t think fanboys will be breaking down Smith’s door for destroying the original source material. Even if they’re upset, they’re likely not even going to be motivated to get off the couch.
The story follows Smith’s creations of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) after they win the lottery and use the funds to become superheroes. Loosely adhering to superhero tropes, Jay and Silent Bob dress up as Bluntman and Chronic, fighting everything from militant lesbians to internet trolls. Oh, and dick jokes. Lots and lots of dick jokes.
The biggest problem with “Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie” is that he should have outgrown it years ago. The guy has more or less moved on with his film career. He’s in his 40s, and he’s got kids. He should be beyond this. And yeah, he didn’t direct this movie, but he allowed it to happen, provided his voice and distributed the movie. With this film, we’ve regressed. Hell, he’s griping about snarky commenters on the internet, for crying out loud. Get over it!
Watching this reminds me of watching “Jersey Girl” back in 2004. Smith had made a big deal about retiring the characters of Jay and Silent Bob from the View Askewniverse. Yet before picture was even up on that movie, the new logo for View Askew featured Jay and Silent Bob appeared. This seemed symbolic of Smith being unable to part with his own history. He was the pot-smoking version of Peter Pan… he just couldn’t grow up.
The world has changed since 2001 when “Bluntman and Chronic” had their comic book debut. The homophobic jokes in the film just don’t play well. In fact, they’re so caustic in the movie that a modern animated version of Smith literally has to step into frame and remind the audience that these are not his views but the silly views of the zany character of Jay.
Sorry, Smith. If you have to remind people of this, the joke doesn’t play.
Do we not live in a more enlightened time? The reality is that these homophobic jokes were wrong back in 2001, and they’re still wrong now. I like to think we’ve grown as a culture. Were someone to remake “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” would they not get rid of the yellowface character of Mr. Yunioshi? Can’t we ask the same of our unfortunate and disgraceful homophobic comedy history?
Were I still in my 20s and closer to Smith’s original target market (though I have never smoked pot and don’t get into the pot worshipping aspect of his work), I might have found the low-brow jokes in this movie funny. However, coming from a guy in his 40s who should have outgrown this nonsense in the last century, it just isn’t funny.
It’s actually kind of sad, really.