Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy ★★★★½

This is all gonna end badly.
-Banky Edwards

In 1994 Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier put themselves on the map with their critical hit, the low budget indie flick Clerks. The next step was a studio film for Universal Pictures in Mallrats. While I like Marllrats to be honest, it was critically panned and worst of all a huge box office bomb. It didn't even make back half of it's $6 million budget. Not only did most people not wonder about Kevin Smith's next project, most people didn't care or think their would actually be a "next project".

This created the perfect environment for the creation of Chasing Amy. If Mallrats had been successful they would have moved on to what was supposed to be their next project, Dogma, but instead Smith started writing the script for Chasing Amy devoid of any fan expectations or studio pressure. This gave him the chance to create a very heart felt story that's a combination of two different relationships, one of his and the other being Mosier's.

The movie is soaked and glazed in crude humor fully deserving of it's R rating, but it's also filled with some of the most poignant and emotionally truthful dialogue to ever grace any Hollywood rom-com. It's one thing to be able to write smart witty dialogue, but it's another to do it and be able to make it emotionally raw. You get some incredibly insightful thoughts on relationships, sex and love between all the dick and fart jokes.

People like to rag on Ben Affleck's acting, but I'll risk the ridicule to say I think he gives a great and realistic performance as Holden McNeil, a man that thinks he's very liberal but soon realizes he's not only naive when it comes to true relationships, but might be a bit sexually insecure as well. This isn't something that is new to the world, most people would feel the exact same way under smaller but similar circumstances, but depicting it in such an open and honest way is something seldom seen in film.

Joey Lauren Adams gives her career defining performance as Alyssa Jones. While it certainly helps that the role was written for her, the performance she gives comes from some deep emotional experiences and you can't help but think that she is bearing a bit of her soul on that screen. It's not only about the emotional outbursts, but she is quite spectacular in quieter moments as well. The best example is when Holden brings up the nickname "Finger Cuffs" at the hockey game, we get a close up of Joey and without saying a word you can see her entire world crashing down around her.

Jason Lee plays a more vulgar version of his Mallrats character as Banky Edwards, but there's a deeper meaning behind the character's temperament here that gives Lee a chance to stretch his not often used (at this point) acting muscle a little bit. Dwight Ewell starts out as the most outrageous character in the film as Hooper X, but ends up the most "emotionally together" and wise male of the entire story. His first appearance is a show stealer, but his conversation with Holden in the record store is an eye opener.

On a technical standpoint the film is nothing special. Smith agreed to sacrifice a $3 million budget and do the film for $250,000 instead so he could make it with the cast he wanted. The result is an incredibly personal and rarely seen truthful film about relationships. Maybe I praise this film more then I should, but I honestly don't believe so. It struck a cord with me 15 years ago and I find now that I'm older I only appreciate it even more. It's my favorite Kevin Smith film and I think it's his best because of what he had to say in it. If you don't agree with me that probably means that you're mother's a tracer.

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