Holden Out for a Hetero
Boy meets girl, they fall in love but something causes a wedge between them, it's a familiar romantic comedy set up and one which is the basis of "Chasing Amy" but this is a Kevin Smith movie so nothing is that simple. Now being a Kevin Smith movie we have his trademarks, the use of comic books, the movie in-jokes, the various actors who often frequent his movies as well as of course a use of colourful language. But then "Chasing Amy" is more than that because we have the twist that the girl the boy falls for is a lesbian, cue plenty of sex jokes but also cue some insightful revelations about relationship issues when it comes to people's past and how they deal with it. It means that whilst "Chasing Amy" is most certainly a Kevin Smith movie it is also one which is more accessible with its clever twist on a familiar set up.
Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck - State of Play) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) have been friends since childhood and not only do they now work together creating comic books they spend their evenings together as well. But their friendship is tested when Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams - Michael) walks in to their lives most noticeably Holden's life as he falls in love with the bubbly young woman. The only trouble is that Alyssa is a lesbian with a surprising pass which when coupled with Banky's jealousy causes Holden a variety of issues.
I will be the first to admit that I don't always get Kevin Smith movies but when it comes to "Chasing Amy" it is one of his most accessible. It is accessible because at its heart it is the tried and tested boy meets girl storyline but playfully embellished with the girl being a lesbian. It adds that extra layer of fun as we watch Holden have to deal with the sudden realisation that whilst he may be in to Alyssa she is into chicks, a scene so wonderfully played out by Ben Affleck and Jason Lee full of great facial humour with an added nod to "Lethal Weapon 3" with the sex scar competition.
But then whilst we have this familiar if a little twisted basis it does allow for an element of depth because whilst Holden and Alyssa wind up an item, that is no spoiler, he learns something about her past which throws him a curve ball. It is insightful because whilst Holden could handle the thought of Alyssa having had sex with chicks when it comes to the possibility that she experimented with men he can't handle it. It is a great look at how perverse personal judgement can be when it comes to relationships, old partners and the struggle of feeling inferior all done in a jokey but insightful manner.
Now as I said the basis of "Chasing Amy" is the familiar boy meets girl and then there is problems storyline but done in a Kevin Smith style. So that means we have all the Kevin Smith trademarks, the comic book element, the appearance of Jay and Silent Bob, the movie in jokes including a comical ravishing of "Star Wars" as being racist plus of course a lot of swearing and I do mean a lot. But it also means that the various elements of this familiar set up never feel a certainty none more so the ending which you will have to watch to find out what happens.
Now aside from the terrible hair and goatee Ben Affleck is on fine form as Holden, not only giving us the pleasant romantic lead but also when it comes to the soul searching confusion. Affleck works well with Jason Lee as his buddy Banky and numerous scenes deliver the big laughs thanks to Lee's great facial expressions. But the star of "Chasing Amy" is Joey Lauren Adams as Alyssa because not only does she give us cute and playful, in fact damn right adorable but she also gets across the emotional conflict of being a lesbian falling for a man.
What this all boils down to is that "Chasing Amy" is a very good movie because it manages to deliver a familiar romantic comedy but switches it up and then fills it with Kevin Smith's various trademarks. It makes it accessible and if you have watched other Kevin Smith movies and thought they were overrated I suggest watching "Chasing Amy" because it is on the money.