Chasing Amy - * * * 1/2*

Kevin Smith finds redemption after his mainstream misfire Mallrats, and creates a finely crafted romantic comedy about a guy falling in love with a lesbian. Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are best friends and the creators of Bluntman and Chronic, a hit comic book. At a comic con, a mutual friend, Hooper (Dwight Ewell), introduces Holden to fellow comic artist Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden is smitten, but soon learns that Alyssa is a lesbian. That doesn’t stop Holden, however. The two become close friends, but things go awry when Holden falls deeply in love with her. Chasing Amy could have been a superficial romantic comedy about unrequited love, but thanks to writer/director Kevin Smith, it manages to rise above that. Again, he shows the keen ear for dialogue and pop cultural references that peppered his earlier work, Clerks. However, in Chasing Amy, Smith develops several nuanced characters, and a plot that won’t settle for the obvious. There are several points in the film where you feel you know exactly where Chasing Amy is headed, but rather than head off predictability with a random plot twist, instead he allows the characters to take the film in an entirely new direction on their own merit. For fans of Clerks (and even those few degenerates who got a kick out of Mallrats), the film has many of the same GenX trappings, even the return of Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith). Though, this time, there’s a decent plot and substantial characters in the mix as well. There are a few times when the plot begins to meander as it wallows in its trivialities, but soon it is back up and kicking. Though all the turns of the plot may not please everyone, it is rare to find an intelligent movie like this that is willing to take the chances.

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