MADNESS IN THE METHOD ** USA 2019 Dir: Jason Mewes. 98 mins
Jason Mewes’ directorial debut builds a self-conscious meta-satire around his own much-publicised battle with sobriety and his long-term chum / collaborator Kevin Smith’s own commercial failures. All of this is integrated into an awkwardly constructed mystery-thriller with elements of slasher cinema.
Suffering the daily indignity of having his catchphrases misquoted back to him, this fictionalised version of Mewes is stuck in a world of DVD schlock in which, typically, he’s the guy playing the psychopathic acupuncturist. While devouring a method acting “bible” for tips and trying to get the lead role in CLERKS star Brian Halloran’s much-discussed “Odyssey” project, Mewes (alongside pal Vinnie Jones) is suspected of the murder of a prominent talent agent.
There are fun moments to be had: the highlight is Danny Trejo camping it up with a feather boa and the line “It’s not gay as long as the balls don’t touch the chin!” Stan Lee, in reportedly his final on-screen appearance, dishes out the movie’s title in his cameo-rant, though the nostalgic casting of has-beens like Dean Cain, Judd Nelson, Casper Van Dien and Teri Hatcher add little and Zach Galligan is miscast as a mannered British filmmaker. The self-indulgent references to earlier View Askew movies highlight how dated the dick-sucking gags feel in 2019. Other elements probably looked better on the page – notably a musical set piece featuring Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” – and the less said about the mercifully brief appearance of the charisma-lite Harley Quinn Smith, the better. The saddest part is the confirmation that, for all of Mewes’ genuine appeal in earlier Smith movies, he just can’t carry a movie on his own.
Review by Steven West