From Publishers Weekly
If you're not an admirer of Kevin Smith (the writer and director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Mallrats, etc.), it's unlikely that this book will turn you into one. Consisting of essays originally published in the British magazine Arena, the book presupposes an intense interest in, among other things, production minutiae surrounding the films Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jersey Girl, Ben Affleck, Star Wars, comic books and Smith's bowel movements. Yes, Smith's bowel movements. While bodily function humor has been done well by other humorists (Monty Python, anyone?), in Smith's hands, it is nothing short of revolting. Who wants to know the "oily and fatty" effects that Smith's obesity pills have on his stool? Those who do might be interested in the author's musings on such topics as sex with his wife ("one hot-lit piece of ass who was giving me a boner like you wouldn't believe") or his preteen habits (he "used to get off on pissing in a cup"). To be fair, Smith peppers his writing with self-deprecating comments, and he divulges a few good gossipy tidbits, such as when he meets Reese Witherspoon and declares that she comes off as "faux-erudite as all hell, and condescending to boot." And when Smith isn't discussing bowel movements, sex or people he dislikes, he almost seems personable. (His description of his highly anticipated meeting with David Duchovny, "a really funny and well-versed guy who I instantly love," is almost warm). For some readers, however, such moments will not justify wading through these repetitive and self-indulgent ramblings.
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Smith, director of the indie hit movie Clerks as well as Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, gathers here more than two-dozen columns he has written for the Left-leaning British political-cultural magazine arena. These pieces, however, are to columns what most sweatpants are to dress slacks: far more casual and a lot dirtier. His rants and raves are all over the place: Britney Spears, masturbation, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, lap dances, Spider-Man, the author's "morbid obesity," a nude painting of Smith's wife, and interviews with Ben Affleck and Tom Cruise, among others. Through the mess, we see Smith's appealing fidelity to his craft and to his family within an industry that tears at both. There are surprisingly candid insights into how a director prepares for a film, especially the delicate politics of casting. And, as shamelessly fawning as he is, Smith inspires wonderful conversation from Affleck and Cruise, both of whom seem to reflect genuine appreciation for Smith's work. Alan Moores
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