It was supposed to be Clerks 3.
The so-called red band trailer for director Kevin Smith’s upcoming movie, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot officially dropped earlier today ahead of its San Diego Comic-Con debut and the images that unfolded presented a veritable stable of star cameos, many from actors who have appeared at one time or another in Smith’s previous films: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Shannon Elizabeth, James Van Der Beek and Jason Biggs are but a few of the New Jersey writer and director’s repertoire of actors returning for one last (?) celluloid hurrah. Smith, who has always stoked fanboy interest because of his everyman quality and abundant love of all things comic book related, is back as one half of the iconic Jay and Silent Bob team, ably supported by his partner in crime, Jason Mewes. Getting a new movie from the venerable director is always good news, but this particular offering, as exciting as it looks from the trailer, can’t help but remind us that Jay and Silent Bob Reboot was not always on the dance card. Instead, the plan had been to turn Smith’s Clerks saga into an official trilogy. To that end, a script had been written and plans had been underway to get that film off the ground when one of the principals set to return for a third time decided to bow out for their own reasons.
For those not in the know, Kevin Smith’s directorial debut Clerks followed the day in the life of two retail employees and the various trials of the damned they experienced during the course of a twelve hour day at work. Amidst the discussions on Star Wars and self-fellatio lurked the true heart of Kevin Smith’s masterpiece: That quiet desperation of a man working a dead end job with no discernible end in sight. The movie resounded to an entire generation (Generation X to be exact) that at times seemed to float around on a cloud of indecision and the pain of feeling left behind by a cold and impersonal world. A sequel, Clerks 2, mined the same territory and threw in unplanned pregnancy, marriage and job mobility angst for good measure. Clerks 3 was supposed to be Smith’s adieu to the two protagonists of that series, Dante and Randal (ably essayed by Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson) and…Well life threw a wrench in the completion of that series. Enter Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
This new film has its strongest roots with Kevin Smith’s 2001 trifle, Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back. Jay and Silent Bob are, of course, Smith and the irascible Jason Mewes. These two have pretty much been the constant refrain in all of Smith’s View Askew films and they work best as background players who exist to comment on the inanities of the films central characters. The first Clerks film and Smith’s third outing, the phenomenal Chasing Amy are excellent examples of less is more when it comes to these characters. Still, it’s hard to deny the simple appeal these two ragamuffins possess in spades and it was probably inevitable when Clerks 3 fell through that some sort of project with the two would eventually pop up.
Chalk full of star cameo turns, this three minute trailer is like a piñata of candy goodness that comes flying at you with mach and warp speeds combined and I defy anyone not to get at least slightly nostalgic as Jason Lee or Ben Affleck chew up the snippets of scenes we identify them in, both actors reprising their characters from other View Askew flicks.
So what the heck is Jay and Silent Bob Reboot about? It doesn’t get much more meta than this: Jay and Silent Bob race to Hollywood to put a halt to a remake of the very Bluntman and Chronic movie (Silent Bob’s and Jay’s comic book and movie alter-egos) that they attempted to stop in Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back. Along the way, expect some salient observations on a Hollywood that is much different than the way we found it back in 2001 and, hopefully, plenty of irreverent humor.
And this is where my article came in: When Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back premiered almost twenty years ago there had been no direct follow-up to Clerks. We had to wait until 2006 for the continuation of that particular story. And while Kevin Smith directed a completely acceptable and fun movie with that 2001 outing, one could not help but get the sense that this film was a fun, slight breather before returning to the world of Quick Stop and RST Video. Which Smith finally did,natch.
It was supposed to be Clerks 3. But watching the trailer this afternoon for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, I’m perfectly content with laughing at the gonzo vision that may be the cinematic equivalent of an appetizer. Whether Smith, O’Halloran and Anderson ever return to present a full course is, of course, up to the vagaries of the actors and the universe. Until then I’ll gladly enjoy my appetizer courtesy of Smith and Mewes.