Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy

***

Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

Following on from his attention-grabbing debut Clerks and disappointing follow-up Mallrats, Kevin Smith gives us the third in his 'New Jersey trilogy'. Though full of the writer/director/actor's usual trademarks (pop culture refs, Star Wars quotes, an appearance from Jay and Silent Bob), it's also the first signs of an artist trying to grow...

Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are best friends who co-author a successful comic book series. One night, Holden meets and falls for fellow artist Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), initially unaware that she is actually a lesbian. However, when he sets out to win her over anyway, it looks like he might lose Banky in the process.

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Inspired by the fact he was dating Adams (whose Jennifer Tilly-esque voice truly grates), Smith crafts a movie that is more polished and - arguably - more mature than his previous efforts. Unfortunately, while this change of pace is more emotional and filled with fewer jokes, it undeniably feels like it's just missing something.

Still, it's clearly a personal tale, given that Adams plays the adventurous girl who'd done more than the Catholic guy from Jersey. The deconstruction of male dysfunction is full of insightful observations and plenty of frank conversations (fisting anyone?), but more than anything you can't help but feel this is Smith's story (with, obviously, Affleck playing Smith).

Of course, the cast is also pure Smith - him as Silent Bob (offering a surprising speech), Jason Mewes as Jay, Clerks' Brian O'Halloran cameoing... the list goes on. From start to finish the performances are so natural they seem like everyone is playing a version of themselves (it's very interesting to see a pre-stud Affleck), but it's Lee who is most outstanding, turning potentially-longwinded chunks of dialogue into on-the-money observations.

An interesting change of pace for one of the most gifted writers in the industry, but Chasing Amy isn't quite complete.

Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2009
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A comic book artist falls for a lesbian.
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