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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> January 2000 >> Dogma


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
January 2000
IMDB Name:
Dogma (1999)
Kevin Smith
comedy, drama
MPAA Rating:
R for strong language including sex-related dialogue, violence, crude humor and some drug content.


Kevin Smith first made a name for himself with Clerks, a crass look at the bottom of the food chain. Mallrats is packed with crudeness, and Chasing Amy's major crisis involves people with different levels of perceived debauchery. It should be, then, no surprise to me that the latest production from (although the first screenplay by) Kevin Smith is up there on the swearing scale, but it still strikes me as a little odd to see characters like the thirteenth apostle, a muse, and a few angels using "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation.


My enjoyment of Dogma is compromised because of my expectations based on Smith's previous movies. It certainly has an interesting premise, a colorful cast of characters, and top-notch talent, but the running time is a bit long for the plot at over two hours. The tone also alternates rapidly between straight and silly uncomfortably quickly, making for a bumpy ride. As an example, I was in awe at seeing such a wild representation of God with such a luminous, innocent smile, but distracted by laughter while Jay yucked it up for the camera. In fact, Smith's biggest mistake may have been giving himself so much screen time. I would've preferred more understatement in the reaction shots that, in the absence of dialogue, define his character. The dialogue is almost completely lacking the gritty reality that made Clerks and Chasing Amy so endearing. I know it's a flight of fantasy, but it sounds more like sci-fi than anything else. I'm not sure where Smith should've taken the tone otherwise, but it didn't sit entirely well with me. I also would've like to see a little more resolution of the golden lamb business, especially since Silent Bob's hat was more merchandising for the blasphemous character.


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