Movie Review - Chasing Amy
Frankly, 'Amy' is sexy
and funny

'Clerks' director puts emotion
in characters

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Fair warning: Chasing Amy is a modern romance, which is to say it's about sex. And in the post-baby boom world of writer-director Kevin Smith, sex is not a topic for word-mincing wimps.

His characters' dialogue is, ahem, frank. And profane. And -- here's the important part -- funny.

The key characters here are Holden and Banky (played by Mallrats veterans Ben Affleck and Jason Lee), creators of way-hip comic books. Their cozy boys club is shaken when Holden falls hard for fellow comic-book artist Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams).

Chasing Amy
(R; strong, graphic, sex-related dialogue; sexuality; drug content) Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams. 113 minutes. At The Esquire, National Amusements.

Major complications ensue; chief among them, Alyssa is a lesbian. Holden, with some difficulty, accepts the sexual barrier and immerses himself in their friendship.

He discovers it's hard work cultivating an intimate, intense relationship without sex. But he's hooked; he can't give up, in spite of emotional land mines that include Banky's cynicism and resentment over the affair.

It's a tribute to a smartly written script that the triangular relationships are played out in hip, flip language, but are not trivialized. These characters may be wry, rude and foul-mouthed, but they are grappling with honest human emotion. The story neatly captures the comedy in their conflicts without demeaning their struggles to come to terms with themselves.

The cast is exactly right for the film. Ms. Adams in particular gives a terrific performance as a smart, charming young woman who pays a price for her confusion over balancing self-sufficiency and emotional need.

As the closing chapter in Mr. Smith's ''Jersey Trilogy,'' which includes Clerks and Mallrats, Chasing Amy wouldn't be complete without Jason Mewes and Mr. Smith as Jay and Silent Bob -- who appear just long enough to explain the film's title.

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