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A Deliciously Demented Religious Satire
The words above, pretty much sum up "Dogma", another often hilarious flick from the brilliant Kevin Smith. Set in the director's beloved home of Red Bank, New Jersey, Dogma's central plot line revolves around two diabolical quasi-angels, Loki(Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) cast out of heaven and sent into the only place they could be banished to more unbearable than hell- Wisconsin. Discovering that the fallible dogma in a certain Red Bank church will allow them to re-enter Heaven if they arrive there on a certain day, they head down eager to return to the Pearly Gates to wreak more havoc. The person best suited to foil their plan is Bethany Sloane (Linda Fiorentino), an abortion clinic worker who is revealed to be the last descendant of Jesus Christ- the reason why the neurotic Metatron, the winged Voice of God (an absolutely uproarious Alan Rickman) appears in her bedroom to recruit her. Along for the ride (Jason Mewes and Smith himself as Smith's recurring slacker characters Jay and Silent Bob, with larger roles and, in Jay's case, funnier dialogue than ever), and Rufus, the outcasted black 13th Apostle (Chris Rock, whose screechy style does little to detriment the delivery of his high-quality jokes.) Meanwhile, a sinister plan involving total destruction is being hatched by the demon Azrael (Smith regular Jason Lee) and his three frighteningly sephulchral, hockey-stick-wielding lackeys. Showing up for cameos are George Carlin as the loopy Cardinal Ignatius Glick, promoting a toothily-smiling, thumbsup-flashing "buddy Christ", Janeane Garofalo as Bethany's fellow abortion clinic worker, and Alanis Morrissette as a quirkily ecstatic interpretation of a female Big Boss.
Smith's dialogues is typically phenomenal, with very few jokes falling flat (an uninspired "s**t demon" sequence is made up for by the collection of witty dialogue given to Rock, Mewes and Rickman- and Smith's Silent Bob is so cool that he commands mention.) The cast is unanimously effective, with the four actors quoted above giving particularly enjoyable performances. All in all, a twisted Catholicism satire to be cherished. 84/100, ***1/2, A-