Despite its seemingly kiddie-friendly name, the new film Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is not suitable for children — unless they’re very young. “You can sit down with a child that doesn’t perceive vulgarity and that child will totally delight in it, because it’s colorful to look at,” says director and prolific podcaster Kevin Smith, who wrote the film. “But if that child understands content at all, you’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.”
In the animated movie, which is available on VOD starting May 6, the much-beloved, Smith-created characters of Jay and Silent Bob decide to become a crime-fighting duo in their home town of Red Bank, N.J. The problem? “They don’t have any villains [to fight],” explains the Clerks director. “So they wind up creating them along the way and then saving the city. It’s really ridiculous, man. The one thing I can say in its defense — besides that it’s really funny — is that it only cost $69,000 to make. The budget was predicated on the ability to just say ’69’ and laugh and giggle “
As usual, Smith himself plays the taciturn Silent Bob — “He has, like, one line but I pop in as ‘Kevin Smith’ once or twice” — while the role of Jay is once again taken by Jason Mewes. The latter is also one of the film’s producers and Smith admits the whole enterprise was in part an attempt to keep the actor, who has a history of drug problems, on the straight and narrow.
“He was talking at one point like, ‘I’ve got to busy myself, dude,'” says Smith. “He said ‘I think that was part of the problem in the past, I didn’t have enough to do. Maybe I could do something else in movies.’ I was like, ‘What about directing?’ He goes, ‘No, that seems complicated.’ I was like, ‘It can’t be, I do it.’ He said, what about producing? I said, well, ‘Scott Mosier (Smith’s longtime producer) does that, so it can’t be that difficult. Do you want to give it a shot?’ So I gave him this script and he went off with Steve Stark, who’s a Canadian animating friend. I was so happy for Jason that his little busy-work project actually turned into something. I was like, ‘S—,’ let’s take this out on tour, like we did Red State. By the second show, we were knee-deep in profit.”
The film co-stars British writer and comics legend Neil Gaiman. “Gaiman does the voice of our Alfred-like butler,” says Smith. “Boy, did he class up the project. Any time now they’re going to make him Sir Neil Gaiman and I’ll be able to reissue Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie as ‘The Royal Edition starring Sir Neil Gaiman.’ I’m always looking ahead!”
Before that happens, you can exclusively check out a clip from Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie below.