Parents' Guide to

Madness in the Method

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Crude, amiable comic thriller will please Kevin Smith fans.

Movie NR 2019 99 minutes
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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.

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