Plot-wise, Smith doesn’t stray far from the formula that framed his titular characters in their last headline outing, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in 2001. In fact, he doesn’t change much at all. On discovering the movie studio that once owned the rights to the comic book that they’re the basis of has reclaimed its stake - taking ownership of the duo's names in the process - New Jersey street rats and local weed dealers Jay and Silent Bob must head to Hollywood to stop stoner superhero movie Bluntman and Chronic from being made, taking their names back in the process. As they hit the road, a host of familiar faces emerge from the woodwork - alongside a wide array of new guests including Chris Hemsworth, Val Kilmer, Joe Manganiello and countless more.
Smith’s latest undeniably has a swan-song vibe to it as the director calls upon all the famous friends he’s made over the years to help collectively lift Jay and Silent Bob Reboot from bargain bin fodder to something with a little more shine. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Smith has become a commodity unto himself - larger and more successful in many ways as a media personality than he ever was as a Director. His latest isn’t blind to this fact either, as the film treads deeper and deeper into meta-territory with nods to the Smith's ‘too fat to fly’ fiasco where he was wrongfully booted off a plane in 2010 and prods at his fascination with putting family members into his work. Ben Affleck’s Chasing Amy alter-ego Holden McNeil sees the cameo fan-service reach its peak in the film’s most touching sequence - but even that cumulative moment can’t resist the opportunity for a bit of fourth wall breaking fun.
Overall, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is a bit of a conundrum. From both a technical and storytelling perspective, it’s far from a great film - enough so that it makes you wonder where the Director might go next now that he’s called his cameo favours all in one go. What’s more, a good 90% of its references, in-jokes and overall humour will zoom over the heads of newbie Smith fans like a fat Batman in a New Jersey mall. That said, is this issue really any more difficult to deal with than Marvel’s episodic movie strategy? They’re a company that plays to their fans and their fans alone - and so is Smith - and if you count yourself a True Believer in the worlds and characters that he’s spent decades creating, then you’ll likely find just as much to like in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot than in any Avengers outing. Snoogans.