As far as 90s stoner film franchises go, the Clerks universe has given us a gift directly from God herself (more like Kevin Smith, but hey – just go with it) in the form of the dynamic duo Jay and Silent Bob.
Now, it's been a hot minute since besties Jason Mewes and do-it-all whiz kid Smith shared the screen together as their stoner personas, but that doesn't mean that they haven't been doing stuff together. Mewes is very transparent and vocal about his struggles with addiction, and in an effort to give him a positive direction to channel his energy into, they created a podcast (Jay & Silent Bob Get Old), which spawns into YouTube videos and product unboxings, and it's great.
Now, these two fan-favorite endearing characters have still been active in many forms since their last live-action appearance in Clerks 2, with both Jay and Silent Bob and their superhero alter-egos Bluntman and Chronic having their own comic book run in addition to making cameos in other titles. Jay and Silent Bob also starred in their own animated series and full-length film (Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie!).
So what does that have to do with the new film? Not much, but it's just a testament to the fact that even though it may have been thirteen years since the last time we saw a live-action appearance of the duo on the big screen, they've hardly moved on from the characters. And that's what brings me to gush about Jay and Silent Bob Reboot; predictable, but dripping with nostalgia – and yet, it's updated to the point it feels familiar but fresh for a new generation and the ones who grew up with them.
What you get is basically the same thing that's on the tin: yes, it's Jay and Silent Bob, but they hit a little different this time – for the best. The humor is still raunchy and hilarious but toned down to adapt to modern times. Kevin Smith's noticeable effort of inclusion and diversity does not go without being ribbed by the "old school" protagonists, Jay and Silent Bob, but it's a welcome break from seeing films populated by strapping straight white dudes. We get a team of young girls who grew up with absentee fathers: Jay's daughter, Milly (Harley Quinn Smith), the deaf black Sopapilla "aka Soapy" (Treshelle Edmond), Shan Yu (Alice Wen) as the Chinese podcaster, and the fabulous Muslim hijabi Jihad (Aparna Brielle).
No, they're not on a diamond heist this time, they just want to get to ChronicCon in Hollywood.
Of course, the inclusion is rad, but I really dig how it's a satire of the "intentionally diverse" tropes and now all of a sudden everything in Hollywood is so perfectly diverse, but they still steep their characters in so many stereotypes that it almost defeats the purpose. What am I talking about? The Chinese girl is a Russian spy! They literally named the Muslim girl Jihad! Need I go on? Jokes aside though, the diversity inclusion in the film is spot on and perfect for both the story and today's culture. All in all, the reboot is a romp down memory lane with some familiar faces, new excitement, expected plot, and a whole bunch of fun. I mean, the cameos alone are worth the price of the rental.
And if that's not enough for you, the way they parody conventions is good for at least 7 laughs. And couldn't we all use a little more humor in today's world?