Madness in the Method
24 August 2019
Jason Mewes, attempting method acting in order to gain more respect for himself in Hollywood, slowly descends into madness.
Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Vinnie Jones, Matt Willis, Blake Harrison, Gina Carano, Mickey Gooch Jr
Anyone watching independent movies in the 90s will know Jason Mewes as Jay in the stoner-comedy duo Jay and Silent Bob, who first appeared in Kevin Smith’s 1994 film Clerks. Since then he has mainly been typecast as stoners and lazy no-gooders or reprising his most famous role in cameos. Madness in the Method is Mewes’ frustrated answer to his plight. A meta-comedy dealing with half-truths and genuine feelings, but with added exaggerations and bombastically silly comedy. Could it become a cult hit like his most famous work in the past, or is this a career move best forgotten?
Madness in the Method stars Jason Mewes as an exaggerated version of himself, tired and burnt out from numerous failed auditions. His career has stagnated and all that he desires is to make something worthwhile and awards-worthy. To become a “true” method actor like Daniel Day-Lewis or Robert De Niro. He wants above all else to be taken seriously, in a world where everyone views him as Jay from Jay and Silent Bob. After making his feelings known to his long-time friend Kevin Smith, Smith tells him about a mystical book on method acting that will change his entire perception of his profession. Having obtained the book from a scary Italian mobster Fernando (Jaime Camil), Jason sets on his wild journey to become a method actor. A journey that will take him to unexpected places.
Fans of Mewes and Smith’s previous work will likely feel at home watching Madness in the Method. But even those without prior knowledge or particular affection for their work will find this film rather charming, although maybe not particularly engaging. The film is at it’s best during individual moments focused on it’s supporting cast. Matt Willis (from the UK band Busted no less) delivering a pretentious speech as casting agent Anthony is very amusing, and every time Vinnie Jones appears as one of Mewes celebrity friends he just steals the show by caricaturing his own hard man image. Other inspired cameos include a paranoid Dean Cain, who played Clark Kent in The New Adventures of Superman back in the 90s. He is laugh out loud funny attempting to hide from fans which seemingly don’t exist. So is Mickey Gooch Jr as the detective looking into Mewes suspiciously criminal behavior, whose over-exuberance often leads some excellent slapstick comedy. Mewes himself is likable enough and has clearly put a lot of passion into this project, but his character doesn’t particularly have a lot to do besides learn the ways of method acting. Even though this is the main plot thread, not much is actually done with it. The most memorable and comedic moments come from the supporting cast.
Despite starting relatively strong, the films reliance on cameos and comedy unrelated to the plot eventually gets tiresome, making it increasingly difficult to actually care whats going on. The third act becomes rather dull unfortunately, as you eventually realise that whilst individual skits might work, as a whole Madness in the Method fails to feel like an engaging whole. It doesn’t help that from a film-making perspective it’s not much too look at either. There is some indie charm and of course I’m not expecting Lawrence of Arabia here, but interiors are very flat and some scenes feel amateurish in terms of staging and editing.
It is somewhat difficult to recommend Madness in the Method to non-fans of Mewes or Kevin Smith’s previous work. It has it’s moments of hilarity and a handful of amusingly playful scenes, but it’s one only for the fans because of it. It lacks anything substantial to invite a casual audience enough to make a great impression, and it left me feeling somewhat cold despite an enjoyable experience overall. Mewes has still proved himself as a capable director but with plenty of room for improvement. Here’s hoping his next film can combine a focused plot along with his hallmark brand of comedy.
Some inspired and hilarious scenes
Charming independent spirit
Third act loses steam
Never particularly brilliant