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Kevin Smith's best.

  • Sep 25, 2011
Rating:
+5
**** out of ****

Kevin Smith is not a filmmaker. He isn't even a director; yet, he's always been labeled as one. Perhaps this is because he's the one behind the camera, "directing" his crew to fit his vision, and learning from the experience; eventually taking references to one film into another. His signature style is the element of crass humor; which I can admire, as long as it's done right. And if you know Kevin Smith's style, then you'll know that most of the time, he finds a way to make it work. The secret ingredient is this: Kevin Smith, not as a "director", but as a writer. Now this is something that he is. He's able to take his life and even some new inspiration and transform it into something amusing and perhaps even genuine. He swears a lot, sure, but don't we all? He can successfully take a 2-hour-long Q&A Session and turn it into a stand-up comedy routine. Yet, Smith doesn't do stand-up. But he's come pretty close, or at least, close enough.

I like Kevin Smith. I'm a big fan of "Clerks", I really liked "Dogma", and "Clerks II" was pretty satisfactory is nothing more than a mere comedic morsel. The film that I'm reviewing here is indeed another one of Kevin Smith's features; and it's called "Chasing Amy". I felt the need to identify Smith and what I think of him because knowing this; you might actually consider my review, well, relevant. I can't guarantee anything, but if you can believe in what I say, then you might be the right person for a Kevin Smith movie. His movies are not to be judged by the close-minded; and "Chasing Amy" is no exception. Me, I thought it was a wonderful film; as good as "Clerks", and possibly even better. It's definitely the deepest thing Smith has ever wrote-and-directed; as the combination is gold almost every time it shows up, attached to one of the big man's movies. Smith needs to write his own films; and here, he does indeed write. And that's why it works. He gives the script all his effort and makes something truly special, and his personal admiration for all things crude and raunchy gives the film its own style and feel. This is a Kevin Smith film; just not the kind you may expect it to be.

Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) are two Comic Book artists. We first see them at a New York Comic-Con; being visited by fans of both the passionate and douchey variety. They seem happy even if their current project, Bluntman and Chronic, has not reached the heights that they may have hoped. Still, they have their friends; one of them being Hooper (Dwight Ewell), who also has connections of his own. One such connection would be Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), a beautiful young woman whom Holden falls in love with on sight. He gives it some time on that one night in which they meet to decide what his final verdict on the lady is, although just when it seems that he's planning on making a move, he discovers that his love interest is a lesbian. In most comedies, this would be a red flag, but as I said, Kevin Smith makes it something much more than it probably needs to be. So just you watch...

Holden, upon discovering the lady's sexual preferences, still remains smitten with Alyssa. He wants her badly, and deep down inside, she may want him too. He still agrees to be "just friends" for a little while, which is enough to anger the possibly jealous Banky. The relationship soon becomes something far more serious, as Alyssa is open to just about anything, as her dark past to effortlessly reveals.

I imagine that most comedies would have spiraled into realms of melodrama, to the point where they just don't feel realistic whatsoever, but Smith's screenplay is smart, his characters are endearing, and the drama was, in all honesty, the real thing. This is probably one of the best dramedies in recent memory; a masterfully fun time that takes the audience through the highs-and-lows of both relationship and life itself. There's a good deal of philosophy and intelligence to be found here, as long as you can get past the film's sense of humor. Most Kevin Smith devotees will have no trouble enjoying this effort, in fact, I think most of them will admire it for Smith's choice to go down different paths and choose different directions. I know that I enjoyed myself. It's an appealing film that I would definitely recommend to most people, but as I said, they have to be OK with crass, crude, often explicit dialogue and humoristic elements.

I loved "Chasing Amy". It has all that it needs; depth, relatable situations, lovable individuals, and note-worthy performances. Affleck is charming in one of his best performances to date, Adams is quirky and likable as her...peculiar character, and Smith, as the writer, nails this screenplay to the (figurative) board. It's a film that hits all the right notes; it makes you laugh, and at moments, it hits you with almost overwhelming tenderness and honesty. Why can't more dramedies be like this? Ah yes...because they aren't written and directed by Kevin Smith. I'm sure there are many other reasons why this is, but that's possibly the best one I can think of.

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September 25, 2011
Agreed. despite my somewhat mixed feelings about Smith these days, he did an incredible job with this film. I film worthy of the Criterion label for sure! Nice review.
 
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More Chasing Amy reviews
review by . May 03, 2009
Not being a big Ben Affleck fan I saw this movie with trepidation. What I saw was a very entertaining and well acted movie. Jay and Silent Bob steal the movie where Silent Bob actually gives some good words of wisdom. He tells Affleck that he should not dwell upon his girlfriend's relationships with her exes because whether it was better or worse the girlfriend is only interested in Affleck now so the past doesn't matter.     Silent Bob goes on to say that his relationship with …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
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It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Chasing Amy is a 1997 romantic comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. It is the third film in the View Askewniverse series. The film focuses on two comic book artists: Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), a heterosexual male, and Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), a lesbian-identified woman.

The movie contains frank sexual dialogue, and was originally inspired by a brief scene from an early movie by a friend of Smith's, Guin Turner's Go Fish, wherein one of the lesbian characters imagines her friends passing judgment on her for "selling out" by sleeping with a man. In real life, Kevin Smith was dating Joey Lauren Adams at the time he was writing the script, which was also partly inspired by her.

The film won two awards at the 1998 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Jason Lee) and Joey Lauren Adams was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum was the Musical Consultant/Producer on this film and wrote music for it.

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Details

Director: Kevin Smith
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: April 4, 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Kevin Smith
Runtime: 1hr 51min
First to Review

"Excellent"
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