Looking at the fifth installment in View Askew
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Jay and silent bob in the hizzouse!

Looking at the fifth and "final" film in the View Askewniverse.

Jay and silent bob in the hizzouse!

"Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" is the fifth film in the View Askew series that all began with "Clerks" in 1994. It was also intended to be the final film within the series, at least it certainly feels as such. Each film within View Askew contains references to the others, either by mentioning events that happened or by focusing on relatives of various characters. And of course, each film contains the absurd rhetoric of Jay and the comedic facial gestures of Silent Bob.

The fifth installment takes it one step further, however, with many of the characters returning for small cameos. Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson (Dante and Randal) return as does the Quick Stop location. Jason Lee returns playing both Brody and Bankie in various scenes (his characters from "Mallrats" and Chasing Amy" respectively. Ben Affleck comes back as Holden and has a small cameo as himself in Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.

Joey Lauren Adams returns as Alyssa Jones and Renee Humphrey comes back as Trish "The Dish" Jones (Alyssa's sister from "Mallrats"). If you haven't seen these movies, then listing any more names will become too confusing. but several more characters have small cameos and some of the actors return to play new small parts.

But the real indication of this being the finale, aside from the culmination of characters past, comes with the end credit scene, where Alanis Morissette, who portrayed God within "Dogma," does as follows:

I think it is safe to assume that this was meant to conclude this universe, despite "Clerks II" coming out in 2006 and "Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot" which is scheduled to come out within the next few years.

To Kevin Smith's credit, he created his own film universe, with intermingled storylines and characters and end credit scenes 14 years before "Iron Man" hit theaters, the movie that kick-started the Marvel Universe and the film-niverse trend that has since followed. Whether you like these films or not, he was pretty ahead of his time in this regard.

With that being said, let's look back at the original concluding chapter to View Askew, "J&SBSB" ("Jay & Silent Bob Strick Back").

The film follows the titular characters as they try to stop the production of the movie "Bluntman and Chronic," a movie based on the comic book of the same name, which is loosely based on them, Bluntman being Silent Bob and Jay being Chronic. Holden and Bankie, from "Chasing Amy" created the comic book in the third movie, and in this one, Bankie tries to get a film adaptation made without asking Jay and Silent Bob's permission to use their likeness rights. That, coupled with various negative comments on online chat rooms (which Jay takes as a personal attack) fuels their desire to end production of this movie.

Along the way, Jay meets the love of his life Justice (Shannon Elizabeth), who is a member of a heist gang looking to steal diamonds. Her group pretends to be animal rights activists, and the neighboring building to the diamonds is a facility where they lock up animals. They convince Jay and Silent Bob to free the animals as a ruse so that they can steal the diamonds without notice.

Jay and Silent Bob comply, and the girls escape, and the freed animals bring about the attention of Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly (Will Ferrell) who chases the duo for the remainder of the movie. This, along with the initial "stop the movie production" plot, makes this the most convoluted View Askew film of the bunch. And it works.

In terms of tone, I would argue that this movie matches that of "Mallrats" more closely than the other films. In my opinion, this is "Mallrats" done right. "Mallrats" tries to be outrageous and all over the place but fails on many accounts. "J&SBSB," despite the irony in this sentence, is more focused in its convoluted structure.

Additionally, if you're a fan of these films, then you have a love for the characters of Jay and Silent Bob. Seeing them as the film's leading men makes it more enjoyable than "Mallrats" could ever be.

With the majority of my reviews, I bring up "does this film have heart?" That is something that I find important within a story. Does "J&SBSB" have heart? Kind of. It has the love story and the fact that Jay and Silent Bob have been best friends their whole lives. But the love story is played comedically and there's no real emotion delivered by the fact they the titular characters have such a friendship.

This is an "outrageous" comedy, and tonally, having these elements of heart wouldn't work as well as it does with the previous films in the series. And with that in mind, I don't think it needs to have the emotional components that I typically look for, or that are present in "Clerks" "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma."

If you disagree, don't worry, however, because "Clerks II" brings back all of the heart that Smith established within the opening of this cinematic universe 12 years prior.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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