Kevin Smith films I always have mixed feelings about. On the one hand “Chasing Amy” will always remain one of my favourite films of all time. On the flipside his last movie “Dogma” I didn’t like much at all, simply because it was so convoluted and lacked humour that it felt like a four-hour movie was shot and then drastically cut down to just over two (which was prove by the recent DVD with over 100 minutes of extra footage).
‘Jay’ is a step-up from “Dogma” and “Mallrats”, yet still a long way off from ‘Amy’. People have been pegging this as the best comedy of the Summer – in the weakest Summer of film we’ve had almost ever, that isn’t as much of an achievement as it sounds.
When its firing, “Jay…” has some great material and sends up its stars extremely well – almost too well in fact as the in jokes come flying nearly every second at some points. From the return of some familiar faces in the opening 20 minutes to the great Hollywood send ups in the last half hour, the film really moves and bites with lots of great self parodies from likes of Affleck, Hamill, Van Der Beek, etc.
However its the middle 40-50 minutes or so where the movie falls down – the humour switches to stoner gags whilst the plot mainly focuses on the leather clad four female jewel thieves (who are fun, especially Larter whose way more bitchy than usual). Whilst Shannon Elizabeth gives her best performance to date here, other comedy greats like Seann William Scott and Will Ferrell have ne-note gags stretched out way too long.
Other segments like a gag involving apes, to a surprisingly frequent number of gay jokes don’t work to well though cameos from the likes of Carrie Fisher, Diedrich Bahder and George Carlin keep things buoyant. “Jay…” will definitely please fans of Smith’s earlier works and while it has some great moments, there could’ve been more to it especially in the sluggish middle act. A more well crafted story, more street scenes in New Jersey and LA, etc. would’ve helped but as is its fun, but not exceptional comedy.