tek's rating: ½

Chasing Amy (R)
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streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1997, though I'm not sure when I first saw it. It's the third movie in the View Askewniverse, but it's possible I saw it before the second movie, "Mallrats." It's also possible- in fact I'd say a bit more likely- that I first saw it some time after I saw the fourth movie, "Dogma." So, whatever, either late 90s or early 00s. And I didn't watch it again until 2013. All I really remembered about it was that Joey Lauren Adams played a lesbian, and some guy fell in love with her. And I remember not really liking the movie much. Certainly nowhere near as much as I liked the first movie, "Clerks". I hoped that watching it this time, I'd like it more than I did before, and maybe I kinda did. But I still don't like it as much as I feel I probably should. The movie has the same kind of cleverness, the same witty if coarse banter that's found in all of Kevin Smith's movies. I'm not comfortable with people in real life or in movies engaging in raunchy conversation, and this movie is even raunchier than Smith's other movies (which is saying a lot). So that's part of what turns me off about the movie, but there's more to it than that.

Anyway, um... the three main characters are played by Adams, Ben Affleck, and Jason Lee, all of whom were in the second movie, "Mallrats," but they're playing different characters in this movie. Affleck plays a guy named Holden McNeil, a comic book artist whose best friend and co-artist is Banky Edwards (Lee). We first see them at a comic book convention, where they meet up with a friend and fellow artist named Hooper. Through Hooper, they meet Adams's character, Alyssa Jones, who is yet another comic book artist. Before long, Holden starts really liking Alyssa, and he thinks she's into him. But later he finds out she's gay. (Which I don't really understand why he didn't know that, because I'm pretty sure Hooper had alluded to that fact when he first introduced them, even if it may have been interpreted as a joke, or maybe the allusion was too oblique. I dunno.) Whatever, after finding out, he's a little freaked, but they soon become really good friends, anyway. But Banky isn't happy about Holden and Alyssa's friendship, and he becomes increasingly antagonistic.

Eventually, Holden admits to Alyssa that he's fallen in love with her, which naturally pisses her off. But then she ends up dating him, because she's in love with him, too. This is what bugs me about the movie even more than the raunchiness of the dialog. It makes it seem like homosexuality is a choice, which is obviously a bad message for a movie like this to send. Still, the explanation she eventually gives Holden kind of makes sense, on the surface, but when you think about it, it really doesn't. (Edit: But you know what, I'm just gonna delete the rest of the paragraph as I originally wrote it, and say that the movie makes it unclear whether Alyssa is actually gay, or bisexual, or what. It could be that her sexuality is fluid, a concept I don't think I'd heard of when I first wrote this review, but looking back it kind of makes more sense to me now than anything the movie has to say about her sexuality.)

Anyway, Holden eventually learns something about Alyssa's past that bothers him. He doesn't want to let it bother him, but he can't help it, and it derails their relationship. Later, he meets up with Jay and Silent Bob (characters from the first two movies), who were the inspiration for his and Banky's comic book, "Bluntman and Chronic." Bob tells a story from his own life that provides this movie's title. And it makes Holden realize he needs to get over his issues regarding Alyssa, if he truly loves her. And he comes up with a way to do that which is just ridiculously stupid and counterproductive. And I guess that's all I want to say about the plot. I won't spoil how it all turns out.

Anyway, I think everyone did a really good job of acting, even if I couldn't help feeling like Holden and Banky were basically surrogates for Dante and Randall from the first movie. (And, hell, I could also say they were surrogates for T.S. and Brodie from the second movie, which is particularly noticeable with Banky, since Jason Lee had played Brodie.) The movie's funny, but not nearly as funny as the first two movies. And it's not as quirky, either, which is why I put my review under "serio-comedy" instead. I should say I actually like that the movie is less funny and quirky than its predecessors, in a way. It does make it more honest, I guess, more realistic and dramatic. But that also makes it more painful to watch. And I just can't help disagreeing with certain aspects of it, which makes me feel that, for all its cleverness and honesty, it's less insightful than the other movies (in my humble opinion). I feel like it's just wrong, which is a good thing in the sense that people are often wrong in real life. People are often stupid and hurtful, even when they have the best of intentions. But it causes me pain when I see anyone, real or fictional, saying and doing things that I don't understand and can't accept, especially when in general I like those people. It's hard for me to really like or understand anyone, so the more I do, the more it hurts when they do something I don't understand. Which I guess makes me not well-suited to enjoy a movie like this. Even if I can recognize its quality. And make no mistake, there are things I believe the movie gets right. And hell, it's entirely possible that I'm wrong about the things I can't help feeling it gets wrong....

seriocomedy index
View Askewniverse
official website; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

Clerks * Mallrats * Chasing Amy * Dogma * Clerks: The Animated Series * Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back * Clerks II
Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie! * Jay and Silent Bob Reboot * Clerks III