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Madness in the Method

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Madness in the Method Movie Poster Image
Crude, amiable comic thriller will please Kevin Smith fans.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 99 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The action and dialogue are heightened for comedic and dramatic effect, which makes lessons land lightly -- or not at all. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mewes and Smith's schtick has matured somewhat as they've aged. Both are now married men, and Smith has a teen daughter, who also appears in the movie; they talk at times about how responsibilities have changed their lives. Many characters have a stereotypical edge, including Hollywood celebrities both real (playing themselves) and fictional. Mewes in particular makes many choices that are dangerous and/or criminal, without realistic consequences. 

Violence

Violence is sporadic but can be shocking, even though it's played for laughs: A character hits another with a car, and we see the victim's unmoving body on the road with brains leaking from his head. In another scene, a character is stabbed repeatedly as blood flies from his mouth. Characters brandish guns in many scenes.

Sex

Jokes are frequently very crude, with references to body parts ("p---y," "clit," "t-tty," "d--k") and many jokes about male-on-male oral sex (Smith says to Mewes that he sees "c-m" dripping from his mouth). In one scene, characters prepare to have sex, but all viewers see is them falling into bed together.

Language

Language is constant and very crude: "f--k," "f--king," "motherf----r," "bitch," "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mewes is (relatively recently) sober; viewers see him attending a 12-step meeting and refraining from drinking at parties. A minor character smokes cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Madness in the Method is similar in tone to other movies in Kevin Smith's filmography, though this one is directed by Smith's longtime collaborator Jason Mewes. Jokes are raunchy, with tons of references to sex acts and body parts (though the only sex viewers see on-screen is the beginning of a cheerful marital encounter; everyone has their clothes on and doesn't even touch). There are also many jokes about and references to oral sex between men and being gay that walk the line of offensiveness. Language is extremely strong and frequent; expect to hear "f--k," "f--king," "motherf----r," and much more. Mewes was once a stoner but now is sober; he's shown going to a 12-step meeting and refusing drinks at a party. A minor character smokes cigarettes prominently. Violence is infrequent but shocking, even though it's played for laughs: A hit-and-run victim is seen with brains leaking from his head, and a character is suddenly stabbed, with blood flying/oozing out of his mouth (he soon dies). Mewes and Smith are now in their 40s, and although their humor hasn't exactly matured, they're both married now, and they talk about how that's changed their lives (both love and appreciate their spouses, though their marriages aren't untroubled). 

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What's the story?

When (now sober) stoner icon Jason Mewes realizes that Hollywood just doesn't take him seriously, he embarks on a quest that brings out the MADNESS IN THE METHOD. After a lousy audition sends Mewes to his best friend, Kevin Smith, for advice, Smith recommends a mysterious method-acting book, the only copy of which is in the hands of menacing fan Fernando Villarreal (Jaime Camil). But just as Mewes lays his hands on the book, things start going wrong, sending him on a journey that not every cast member will survive. 

Is it any good?

Amiable and entertaining, if a bit self-referential, Mewes' directorial debut takes on the tone and style of Smith's View Askewniverse, both for better and for worse. This time the genre is a comic murder mystery that's heavy on both the comedy and the murder, which is a bit darker than viewers might expect. But those who've seen a Jay and Silent Bob collaboration before won't be surprised by the comic content: Mewes and Smith exist, as always, in a cinematic world in which everyone seems to know their in-jokes (the unconverted may be sent straight to Urban Dictionary to seek the meaning of phrases like "snoogan"). And the parade of guest stars dropping by to deliver a few lines is one of the best things about Madness in the Method (longtime fans know to expect the regulars to duly make their turns).

Mewes' sobriety removes the layer of stoner comedy that usually permeates his and Smith's films. But sending up Hollywood makes a pretty good substitute, as Mewes careens through town with the twin goals of evading a murder rap and getting cast in a role that will make his peers take him seriously. The last bit is obviously a meta quest; as the on-screen Mewes, playing himself, obsessively consults a movie industry ranking site for clues that his efforts are bearing fruit, it's all too easy to imagine the real-life Mewes doing the exact same thing. But, like the actor, his movie has an easygoing charm. Askewniverse fans will like it, and while it may not convert legions of new admirers, this film is a worthy successor.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies that mix genres. How often does comedy combine with horror, drama, science fiction, or other genres? What examples can you name? How does Madness in the Method compare? 

  • If you have seen other movies starring Smith and Mewes, how is this one alike or different ? How has Mewes' sobriety changed the duo's comedy? How have the jokes changed as the actors have gotten older? 

  • Is it common for an actor and a director to work together frequently? What other actor/director collaborations can you name? Can you tell the difference between Mewes' directing style and Smith's? 

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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