It happened to Cheech and Chong (sadly), it happened to Achmed the Dead Terrorist (whatever), but now they've crossed the line with Jay and Silent Bob. An animated movie featuring Kevin Smith's iconic stoner characters Jay and Silent Bob has been in the works for years, and when a trailer for Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie circulated early in 2013, the dream had finally materialized into a project. Smith would be going on a tour throughout the United States showing this film at festivals and following it with one of Smith's trademark Q&A sessions. The unfortunate thing about watching Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is that no witty, refreshing Q&A by Smith follows to wash the pungent taste the film itself leaves in ones mouth.
I'm not particularly sure if I've outgrown the humor brought on by Jay and Silent Bob over the years, or is Smith has just dumbed the humor down to inconceivably low levels. All I'm sure of at this point in time is that Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is a poor excuse for such a highly-anticipated project. A cheap, underwritten parade of lackluster animation, annoying characters, and writing one would expect from someone who doesn't care about the characters, their impact, or their legacy - not from the soul who created them and who plays one of them.
The film is based off of Smith's Bluntman and Chronic comic book series, with the characters serving as the alter-egos of the film's titular duo. It concerns Jay and Silent Bob (voiced by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, respectively), two stoners who still spend their days hocking marijuana in front of the Quick Stop Convenient Store. One day, they look into participating in a radioactive experiment of sorts so they can earn five dollars for participating. Even though they back out because of fear of injection and needles, they receive five dollars, which Silent Bob spends on a scratch-off ticket and is awarded $10 million.
The two decide to act out their fantasy of being crimefighting heroes, with Silent Bob assuming his role of "Bluntman" and Jay assuming his role of "Chronic," Bluntman's ignored, less-loved sidekick. The two manage to get on the nerves of every hideous villain there could be, from a man whose wish to have larger genitalia turned him into a giant, walking penis, to a nerdy, comic-book fanatic who lives with his parents.
The immediate disappointment is how Jay and Silent Bob feel like they're subjected to the background of their own film, with almost fifteen minutes of the film's already short fifty-eight minute runtime dedicated to looking at the grotesque villains of the film. The villains seem less like practical villains and more like the brainchildren of prepubescent teenage boys. One could say most of Smith's films feel like they were written and conducted by such a group, but Smith's films also had the beauties of conversational realism, hilarious monologues that critiqued daily life and etiquette, and possessed a rare love and admiration for the common man.
Everything Smith's early films predicated themselves off of is lost with Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, which does nothing but cheapen the characters by giving them dialog comprised entirely of swear words, marijuana references, and a zinger like "snootchie bootchies" or "snoogans" thrown in for good measure.
Finally, there's the animation, which is simply inexcusable. Even as a lover of animation with an older aesthetic and something that isn't overly-polished, pristine CGI animation, I found this animation to channel on the poor qualities of the Top Cat animated film. Made for about $69,000, according to Smith, Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie looks like it was made in an older Flash program. The film's director, Steve Stark, was said to be an "animating genius" by Smith himself, and perhaps he is when he is not working with lackluster imagery on a project marketed for adults but will likely only please teenage boys.
There is something so incredibly disheartening about the way Jay and Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie takes two great characters and throws them into an unwatchable picture with no redeeming value. Jay and Silent Bob's memorable banter that was present when they would harass the public is replaced with oversimplified statements, and instead of enjoyable side-characters, we get irritating villains in their place. It's only all the more appalling when we remind ourselves that the person who made this devaluing picture created the characters it centers on, in addition.
Voiced by: Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith. Directed by: Steve Stark.