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USA 1997
Directed by
Kevin Smith
113 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Chasing Amy

I can't say that I am a big fan of Kevin Smith whose later work tends to be little more than an indulgence in post-pubescent crudity but this, the final instalment of his so-called Jersey Trilogy (the others being his break-out hit, Clerks,1994 and the so-so Mallrats, 1995), a look at love American Gen X -style is his most broadly accomplished work, one might even say, his masterpiece (not that that is saying a lot), a rom-com that is not only saccharine-free but which attains real impact thanks to Smith's script and the excellent performances by Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams (both of whom had appeared in Mallrats) in the leads.

Explicitly extending many of the themes and elements of his previous two films (including the re-appearance of Jay and Silent Bob), Smith's characters are comic book writers: Holden (Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) who have been best friends for years. But then Holden falls for Alyssa (Adams), and the easy relationship between the two guys is turned upside down as not only does she turn out to be a lesbian but Banky is unable to deal with Holden's shift of affection.

Whereas one might expect, knowing Smith, that this would have been the cue for a lot of smutty jokes about dykes, faggots and oral sex and to be honest there is an over-abundance of these particularly in the film's early section, Smith actually explores the dynamic of this triangulated relationship and turns in a sharply written account of it with heart and credibility.  Adams is captivating as the female lead and Affleck equally strong in what is a quite demanding role, one that requires him to display vulnerability without appearing in any way contrived and there are some moments of real poignancy in this rewardingly forthright film.




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