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Film / Chasing Amy

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"She was the girl, I know that now. But I pushed her away. So, I've spent every day since then chasing Amy. So to speak."

A 1997 romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Kevin Smith, and the third film in The View Askewniverse series.

Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) is an artist who works fairly successfully for his "Bluntman and Chronic" comic along with his best friend Banky Edwards (Jason Lee). Holden meets fellow comic artist Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) at a convention, and after connecting with her on an intensely interpersonal level finds himself greatly smitten; before he can make a move, however, he discovers that Alyssa is a lesbian. He is devastated by that information, but they still become incredibly close friends. There is one hitch, however: he is still in love with her.

This film was originally inspired by a brief scene in Go Fish (cowritten by Smith's friend Guinevere Turner, who has a cameo here), wherein one of the lesbian characters imagines her friends passing judgment on her for "selling out" by sleeping with a man. In real life, Kevin Smith was dating Joey Lauren Adams at the time he was writing the script, which was also partly inspired by her. Smith has even admitted that the film is basically an apology to Adams for his real-life overreaction upon learning of her sexual past while the two were dating (though he also makes it clear that her sexual history was nowhere near as wild as Alyssa's, only enough to make him feel inadequate and inexperienced at a young age).

Noted for its frank dialogue, Chasing Amy explores concepts of sexuality and love, how your feelings don't have an off switch and the social pressure for staying within one category. It was generally well-received, winning two awards at the 1998 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Jason Lee). Joey Lauren Adams was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical. It's also Kevin Smith's only movie to be released as part of The Criterion Collection. There's even been speculation for years that it was a nose away from receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum was the Musical Consultant/Producer on this film and wrote music for it.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Alyssa mentions a threesome with Gwen Turner, her character from Mallrats, and a fling with Shannon Hamilton, Affleck's character from Mallrats.
  • All the Good Men Are Gay: Inverted. In this case, all the good women are lesbians. Or closeted bisexuals.
  • An Aesop:
    • Relationships are give and take. You can't expect someone to love you on your own terms just because it makes you feel more secure about yourself.
    • As Holden learns from his experience with Alyssa, "In the end. what she taught me was simple. In have to put the individual ahead of their actions. Always".
  • Amusing Injuries: Alyssa and Banky comparing scars from lovemaking sessions to shark bites and cat scratches to their hilarity.
  • And Starring: Jason Mewes as Jay.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Banky asks Holden several of these why he's still hanging out with Alyssa even after discovering she's a lesbian.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Holden gives one to Banky after being called out on his fixation with Alyssa despite knowing she is a lesbian. And being in denial about it many times.
    Banky: What is it about this girl man? You know you have no shot at getting her into bed. Why do you bother wasting time with her? Because you're Holden fucking McNeil, the most persistent traveler on the road that's not the path of least resistance. Everything's gotta be a fucking challenge for you and this little relationship with that bitch is a prime example of your fucking condition. Well, I don't need a magic 8-ball to look into your future. You want a forecast? Here, will Holden ever fuck Alyssa? Oh, what a shock, Not fucking Likely. This relationship is affecting you, our work and our friendship and the time's gonna come when I throw down the gauntlet and say it's me or her. Then what are you gonna say?
    Holden: I think you should let this one go.
    Banky: No, what would you say? Would you trash twenty years of fucking friendship because you got some idiotic notion that this chick would even let you sniff her panties, let alone fuck her?
    Holden: Look fucking asshole, I'm telling you, okay, let it go!
    Banky: What the fuck, man! What the fuck makes this bitch all that important?
    Holden: Cause I'm fuckin' in love with her, man, okay?!
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • Holden's Love Speech in the Rain.
    Holden: I love you.
    Alyssa: (beat) You love me.
    Holden: I love you. And not, not in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm sure that's what you'll call it. And it's not because you're unattainable. I love you. Very, very simple, very truly. You are the-the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is-is-is the furthest thing from an option you would ever consider. But—I had to say it. I just, I can't take this anymore. I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't—I can't look into your eyes without feeling that—that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. And I know, this will probably queer our friendship—no pun intended—but I had to say it, 'cause I've never felt this way before, and I-I don't care. I like who I am because of it. And if bringing this to light means we can't hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But, God, I just—I couldn't allow another day to go by without just getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And, you know, I'll accept that. But I know, I know that some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there's a moment of hesitation, then that means you feel something, too. And all I ask, please, is that you just—you just not dismiss that, and try to dwell in it for just ten seconds. Alyssa, there isn't another soul on this fucking planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it is there between you and me. You can't deny that. Even if, you know, even if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I am forever changed because of who you are and what you've meant to me, which—while I do appreciate it—I'd never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.
    • Followed soon after by Alyssa's monosyllabic reciprocative anguished squeak.
  • Armored Closet Gay
    • Banky throws around homophobic slurs left and right but when Holden propositions him for sex, he is actually willing at first. In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, he's apparently with Hooper.
    • Hooper plays with this as well: He doesn't mind the fact that he's gay, but he doesn't let his consumers know that, especially since a gay black man is "the swishiest gay man there is".
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: This infamous exchange:
    Banky: Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road, OK? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill. Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, OK? Are you following?
    Holden: Yeah.
    Banky: Good. Over here, we have a male-affectionate, easy to get along with, non-political agenda lesbian. Down here, we have a man-hating, angry as fuck, agenda of rage, bitter dyke. Over here, we got Santa Claus, and up here the Easter Bunny. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first?
    Holden: What is this supposed to prove?
    Banky: No, I'm serious. This is a serious exercise. It's like an SAT question. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first? The male-friendly lesbian, the man-hating dyke, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny?
    Holden: The man-hating dyke.
    Banky: Good. Why?
    Holden: I don't know.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Holden does this to Banky a lot.
    • The first time, he nudges Banky to be quiet when he commented on Alyssa's comics being good. "Chick stuff" but good.
    • The second time is when Holden nudges Banky for making insensitive comments about how hot women look kissing each other when they're in the lesbian bar.
  • Berserk Button: Banky has several. For one thing, being called "a tracer" is a sure fire way to set him off.
    • "You're a fucking tracer!"
    • Banky also didn't appreciate Hooper's theory that Archie was gay, and dragged Hooper to a comic book store to disprove it.
  • Betty and Veronica: Discussed, when two characters try to explain why it happens in Archie Comics. Hooper is convinced it's because Archie is Jughead's lover, and Banky is convinced its because Archie wants to bed both girls at once.
  • Big Applesauce: The film is partially set in New York City.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
    • Alyssa and another woman Kim sharing a big kiss after her karaoke performance in the bar.
    • Holden and Alyssa share one in the rain after their big fight.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Everyone's able to move on with their lives and Holden in particular becomes a better person in the end, but neither his relationship with Alyssa nor his friendship with Banky survive. However, Holden's obvious guilt and humility after screwing up so badly does leave the door open for a reconciliation with both. Him and Banky exchange pleasantries at a convention the next year, and Banky even wordlessly encourages Holden to go talk to a nearby Alyssa.
    • The 'sweet' part gets upgraded later on, evidence by the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot: Holden and Alyssa didn't get back together but they managed to rebuild their friendship. Furthermore they conceived (probably through artificial insemination) and later co-parent an adorable little girl named Amy.
  • Bi-Wildered: The plot involves Alyssa, who identifies as a lesbian then begins dating a man, and soon becomes confused and angsty about it. She gets flack from her lesbian friends and her boyfriend when he learns about her wild past with other men. The word bisexual however is not used, but Alyssa does seem to be a bi or pansexual woman who prefers same-sex relationships.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Banky gets mad really fast, whether a guy calls him "a tracer" or his best friend continues falling for a lesbian.
  • Butch Lesbian: Alyssa's lover Kim and several other women in the lesbian bar have short hair with masculine clothing.
  • But Not Too Bi: Deconstructed. Alyssa is attracted to and has sexual experience with men and women, yet prefers to live as a lesbian and date only women. When she is revealed to be attracted to men as well, she faces adverse reactions not only from her lesbian friends but from her male lover Holden who can’t accept her past with other men.
  • But Not Too Black: Hooper's complaints about Darth Vader being a white man.
  • Camp Gay: Hooper X, who puts on a public facade of being an aggressively-militant "Angry Black Man" Stereotype, but is actually this behind closed doors.
  • Canada, Eh?: When Banky suggests he and Holden watch Degrassi Junior High:
    Holden: You got a weird thing for Canadian melodrama.
    Banky: I got a weird thing for girls who say, "Aboot".
  • Captain Ethnic: "My book, 'White Hating Coon', is a positive role model that a young black reader can look up to."
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Two, but they don't go off until subsequent movies. Jay and Silent Bob's bus tickets to Illinois get them to the midwest in time for the plot of Dogma, and Banky and Holden's comic book (turned movie) becomes the major plot of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
    • There's a third one: a blurb in one of the newspapers in the beginning reveals Brodie has quit his job as the host of the Tonight Show and opened up a comic book store, linking this movie to both Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
    • One of the newspapers also mentioned the character Mooby, whose chain of restaurants is featured prominently in Dogma and Clerks II.
  • Closet Key: Inverted example. Holden is one for Alyssa, a lesbian who didn't realize she was capable of finding love with a man until she met Holden. When the truth about her closeted bisexuality and past promiscuity comes out, Alyssa tells Holden that he is this to her during their fight.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Clerks:
      • In Clerks, Dante mentioned Heather Jones' sister Alyssa. She finally appears in person in this movie.
      • Alyssa explicitly mentions attending the funeral of Julie Dwyer—the same funeral is attended by Dante and Randal in Clerks.
      • Holden and Banky's studio is located in the same building as Dunn and Ready Home Improvements, the company whhere the roofer from Clerks works.
      • Earlier in the same scene, Alyssa mentions that her best friend had sex with a dead man in the bathroom of the Quick Stop (the setting of Clerks). This happens to a character, Caitlin, in the climax of that film. Alyssa also says she had a crush on Caitlin in high school.
      • The flashback to Cohee Lundin is set in front of the Quick Stop.
      • Rick Derris is mentioned as one of Alyssa's former sexual partners.
    • Mallrats:
      • The aforementioned reference to Julie Dwyer's funeral also doubles as one for Mallrats, since the reasons for her death are stated in that movie, are revealed to be the protagonist's fault, and kick off the main plot.
      • Brandi Svenning, Gwen Turner, and Shannon Hamilton are mentioned among Banky and Alyssa's past sexual partners. Brandi's aggressive father also gets a mention.
      • After greeting Jay and Silent Bob, Holden asks them whether they were hanging out at the mall again.
      • Jay criticizes Holden for making "Snootchie-bootchies" his character's catchphrase, despite having used it frequently in Mallrats.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Criterion Collection DVD cover notably depicts Holden with no facial hair and Banky smiling. During the entire movie, Holden keeps his goatee, and Banky is not nearly cheerful enough to wear that grin. Jay and Silent Bob's presence on the cover also implies that they'll be there for more than one scene.
  • Creator Cameo: Off-screen though. When Banky asks whether Alyssa looks at herself in the mirror while getting intimate with another girl, Holden grabs him and pulls him from off-camera. The hand really grabbing him is the cameo from Kevin Smith.
  • Cure Your Gays: Discussed. Banky half-jokingly claims that lesbians are just straight women who "need a good dicking." And despite Holden's disgust at his friend's ignorant remarks, part of his anger in the second half of the film is his discovery that he didn't "cure" Alyssa.
  • Destructo-Nookie: The apartment is quite a wreck with the furniture knocked over after Holden and Alyssa spent the night together.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Twice. First with Silent Bob in his monologue about the titular Amy and Holden with Alyssa.
  • Did Not See That Coming: Holden and Banky's reaction seeing Alyssa kissing a girl after her karaoke performance in the bar.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Both Banky and Holden are stunned by the sudden kiss Alyssa shares with another girl, then Banky does the math and realizes that they're in a lesbian bar. Not that he minds.
    • While playing games in the arcade with Alyssa, Holden messes up his shot throwing a ball when Alyssa reveals she "got laid" last night.
    Holden: So what did you do last night?
    Alyssa: I got laid.
    Holden: (Skee ball flies out of his hand and breaks a pinball machine)
  • Dramatic Thunder: Thunder crashes when Holden tells Alyssa he loves her. Knowing that she is a lesbian.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Played straight, then deconstructed.
    • Holden is, at first, a decent-enough guy who happens to develop feelings for a woman who could never love him back because she isn't attracted to men. When he spills his guts to her about being in love with her, she rightfully calls him an asshole for making this her problem... only to confess that she is attracted to men and, after a second thought, admits that she loves him back.
    • The second half of the movie depicts Holden's selfishness when he's hung up on Alyssa's sexual past, taking for granted how coming out as bi just to be with him was a huge risk that ostracized her from her other lesbian friends. The only reason he feels that having a three-way with Alyssa and Banky will solve all of their problems is because it would be most convenient for him rather than the best choice for both of his friends.
  • Dramatic Drop: Banky drops a bottle of milk when he walks into his and Holden's apartment to find Holden and Alyssa asleep naked on the couch.
  • Dude, She's A Lesbian: Subverted. Even after finding out she's a lesbian, Holden still loves Alyssa and continues to pursue her. Banky has to be the one to remind him continually that he cannot be with her anyway because she is a lesbian. Then subverted even further when it turns out she's actually bisexual and reciprocates his attraction later.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Holden falling for Alyssa as he spends more time with her as his "best friend".
  • Flat "What": Banky's reaction when Holden accuses him of being in love with him.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Well, out of a deeper closet. Alyssa only admits that she's attracted to both men and women when Holden literally begs her to "give it a try" with him. She's then forced to come out to her lesbian friends, who deem her a Category Traitor when she does, making it clear just why she never came out.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Alyssa being on a panel for minority comic creators in the beginning.
    • A woman entering the men's bathroom as Alyssa and Holden throw darts together.
    • Hooper X trying to tell Holden and Banky something about Alyssa.
    • Banky commenting on there "being a lot of chicks" in the bar they're at.
  • Friendship Moment: Just because a friendship moment is selfless (or at least well-intentioned) doesn't automatically make it a good idea.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Holden finds himself torn between his 20 year friendship with Banky and his love for Alyssa.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Alyssa and Holden are playing darts, men are going in and out of the women's bathroom and women are going in and out of the men's bathroom. Though since it is a gay bar (and Holden doesn't know it at the time) this becomes a Meaningful Background Event.
    • When Silent Bob is telling his story about Amy, Jay is repeatedly pouring sugar into a spoon and eating it.
  • Gay Bar Reveal: Holden and Banky only figure out that Alyssa is gay after realizing they're in a lesbian bar.
  • The Ghost: The titular Amy, only ever mentioned once in Silent Bob's monologue and never seen onscreen.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: When Silent Bob starts talking about the titular Amy, Jay immediately invokes the trope by asking him "What, she lives in Canada or something? Why don't I remember this?"
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot:
    • Hooper mentions the fact that lesbians are becoming far more accepted in society because of this trope, while a gay black man has several additional hurdles to jump through.
    • Also accurately describes Banky's reaction upon realizing he's in a lesbian bar and seeing Alyssa make out with another girl. Although it's also leavened with a soupçon of schaudenfraude upon finding out Holden's crush is a lesbian.
    • Also, Banky's many comments while he's distracted by Alyssa and another woman making out, which only irritates Holden.
      Banky: What?
      Holden: That's rude?
      Banky: Man, when am I ever going to get to see this kind of shit live without paying for it?
      Holden: (sees Alyssa and her woman giving Banky a look) Sorry, he's new to this whole thing.
      Banky: (to Alyssa) Since you like chicks, right, do you just look at yourself naked in the mirror all the time?
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half is about Holden struggling with being in love with Alyssa, who identifies as a lesbian. Then, they hook up. The second half of the movie is about Holden feeling increasingly insecure about Alyssa's extensive sexual past.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Deconstructed between Holden and Banky, as Banky eventually admits he is attracted to Holden. The combination of their professional struggles and Holden's relationship with Alyssa falling apart also leads to them splitting up.
    • Joked about in Jay and Silent Bob's only scene. Silent Bob gives his monologue about "Chasing Amy" in reference to a past girlfriend and Jay wonder how he's never heard of her. Silent Bob tells him not everything in his life revolves around Jay.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: Banky and Hooper are revealed to be sleeping together in the ending scenes of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. (A deleted scene also has Banky telling Hooper to stop discussing their sex life in public}.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Alyssa is a lesbian but still enters into a "special" relationship with Holden, the only man she's ever been intimate with. Subverted when it's revealed that Alyssa is a closeted bisexual/pansexual who has experimented sexually in the past with lots of men and women and threesomes, but still considers herself "lesbian" due to Values Dissonance and that Holden is her first and eventually last real heterosexual romance.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Holden tries to pull Banky out of the lesbian bar when things start getting awkward for him by saying they need to beat traffic. Banky tells him that there's no traffic since it's one in the morning, to which Holden replies, "Yeah, so rush hour starts in eight hours!"
  • Incompatible Orientation: The first half of the plot is Holden struggling with being in love with Alyssa who is a lesbian. Subverted as Holden likes Alyssa when he thinks she's a "pure" lesbian or even a relatively chaste bisexual, but when he learns about her past...
  • Innocuously Important Episode: While a self-contained story, this movie also introduces the comic Bluntman & Chronic which indirectly serves to trigger the plots of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the former also majorly impacting the ending of Clerks II.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Banky is an inker. But many people (especially that one guy) think it's the same as tracing.
    • Alyssa may be a closet bisexual/pansexual but still insists on being considered a lesbian by her friends and eventual lover Holden. Possibly due to the belief in the 90's that being considered a bisexual/pansexual was worse and more controversial than being just a lesbian (her friends react badly to her saying she's dating a man).
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Holden later turns his entire experience into a comic book.
  • It's All About Me: Holden, who still holds a torch for Alyssa even after discovering she's a lesbian and goes as far as to guilt-trip her and pressure her into possibly dating him. Even after entering into a relationship with Alyssa and then finding out about her promiscuous past, he comes off as a complete jerk to her in public, humiliating her for not telling him about her past because it meant something to him more than her. After their fight, Holden tries one last straw at fixing things — by proposing that he, Alyssa and Banky all have a threesome together — simply because he thinks it will make things better for him because he thinks so, rather than leave things in the past and move on. Holden's selfish actions ultimately destroy his relationship with Alyssa and ruin his friendship with Banky.
  • It Meant Something to Me: Holden's anger and insecurities over discovering Alyssa's promiscuous past when he believed he was the only guy she had ever been with and not knowing how to deal with it and just love her is what drives her away from him.
  • Jerkass: The guy who screams "FUCKING TRACER!!".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Banky. Most of his obnoxious behavior towards Alyssa is because he doesn't want her to hurt his best friend. And possibly a deep rooted crush on him has something to do with it as well.
  • Just Train Wrong: In Red Bank, there is no train station that has more than two tracks (the NJ Transit Coast Line train has only two platforms, north bound to NY Penn Station and south bound to Long Branch; which at the time of the film you had to switch from LB to a separate diesel train to head further south towards Bay Head) and the platforms are outdoors.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Jay commenting on that Silent Bob thinks that because he doesn't speak often, when he does it is important.
  • Last Het Romance: Zig-zagged. Holden is implied to be Alyssa's first serious boyfriend (i.e., more than just a hookup), but the woman she's seen with at the end indicates that Holden was her only het romance . In-Universe, Holden's discovery that he isn't her first male sex partner is what pisses him off.
  • Late to the Punchline: Done in a unique way, when in the bar watching Alyssa singing, Holden is too clearly fawning over her to realize they were in a lesbian bar while Banky figures it out before him. When Alyssa kissing a girl after the song, Holden's look of shock is contrasted with Bankys' enormous smile.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Silent Bob's Title Drop speech.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Alyssa is revealed to be one, with long hair and a pretty girly manner, contrasting to her butch lover Kim in the lesbian bar. Later, however, she is shown to be a lipstick bisexual/pansexual.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Subverted with Hooper. His stage persona as the author of White-Hatin' Coon is that of a militant black supremacist. In his private life, he's a friendlier, more rational person with a wiry Camp Gay voice.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Amy's girlfriend is very much butch, while she's a girly Lipstick Lesbian (or rather lipstick bisexual/pansexual, as is soon revealed).
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: Jay suggests Holden indulge in "the band of the hand" to qualm his romantic frustrations, but Holden refuses because "he's in love." Banky prefers his stack of pornographic magazines as whacking material.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Holden tries to lean into this in an attempt to accept Alyssa's devious sexual past by suggesting the two of them have a three-way with Banky, refusing to accept that Alyssa just wants to move on from her past and have a normal, monogamous relationship for once.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Subverted and discussed at length. It's almost a deconstruction! After all, the guy loses the girl because he can't cope with her past. He feels inferior to her experience and wants to try something to make up the difference. And he's too ignorant to realize she doesn't care, that she just wants him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Holden attempts to rekindle his broken relationships with both his best friend and his girlfriend by suggesting they have a three-way. It ends up destroying both.
  • No Bisexuals: Sort of.
    • Alyssa is bi/pansexual who identifies as a lesbian until she gets together with Holden, but the word "bisexual" doesn't appear anywhere in the film. Her friends treat her falling for Holden as "losing one to the other team," implying that identifying as bisexual is more controversial than identifying as a lesbian.
    • The movie also never confirms whether Banky, who has had several successful female relationships, is bisexual or Armored Closet Gay (though his implied relationship with Hooper in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back rules out Single-Target Sexuality).
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently as a child Banky made a nun so angry that she called him a "fucking cunt rag".
    • While probably just some nonsense tossed off by his drug-fueled ranting, or even just an outright lie, Jay mentions that Alyssa's sexual past included something involving a dog.
  • Not So Above It All: Holden is disgusted by his friend's cruel jokes about how lesbians just need "a good dicking," but he's none-too-subtly implied to feel this way about his relationship with Alyssa, as his anger in finding out that she's always been attracted to men and he isn't her first male partner is as much a case of his macho ego getting bruised from realizing that his "accomplishment" in getting a lesbian to fall in love with him wasn't an accomplishment at all as it is feeling as though Alyssa lied to him.
  • Novelisation: In Japan, the screenplay was adapted into a novel by Kenichi Eguchi and published by Aoyama Publishing. The unique concept of the book is that it is roughly half-novel, half-manga, with Moyoco Anno providing the art for the comic book pages. In an episode of SModcast, Smith revealed that while he was thrilled to have a manga based on his film, he was shocked when he read the novelization, as the characters' sexual histories, which are just mentioned in conversation in the film, are depicted in the novel's manga illustrations as sexually graphic flashbacks.
  • N-Word Privileges: In a deleted scene, Alyssa says she's offended by Banky using words like "faggot" and "dyke" carelessly and in anger. Holden retorts with why it's okay for her and Hooper X to use those words if they're so bad. Alyssa explains that they use those words in order to take the venom out of them, so when ignorant and hateful people say them, they won't be bothered as much.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Alyssa's nickname "Finger Cuffs" stems from her experimental participation in a threesome with two guys back in high school. Also, her other threesomes in college with a guy and another girl, one of which videotaped it and showed it through the whole college, making her a laughing stock.
  • The One That Got Away: The entire plot and climax of the movie.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The Gay Bar Reveal is drawn out so long that even a viewer who didn't know the movie's premise would pick up on it long before Holden and Banky do.
  • Product Placement: Pete's Wicked Ale (R.I.P.) must have been a sponsor on this low-budget film. In each bar scene, every beer bottle is Pete's Wicked Ale and there's a neon PWA sign at the first bar and a PWA sign behind the stage at Meow Mix. They had the bottle labels turned around during the oral sex stories scene, but they end up being visible.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Alyssa's friends catch on to her heterosexual relationship because when mentioning the person she fell for she doesn't specify the gender other than "them" or "they".
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Averted. Holden is easily the most selfish character in the movie and everybody treats him as such.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: After performing some karaoke in the bar, Alyssa points at the crowd and Holden is flattered, thinking he is pointing to her. It's quickly established that Alyssa is a lesbian when she and another woman Kim kiss, police klaxons go off, club music starts playing and Banky notices that they're surrounded by women in the bar. Butch women. And Banky puts all the pieces together while Holden looks on in shock.
  • Rape and Switch: Discussed. Banky's half-joking belief to Holden that lesbians just "need a good dicking" comes off as this.
  • Romantic Rain: Holden and Alyssa's first kiss takes place in the rain after a heated argument.
  • Rule 34:
    • Discussed, in regards of Archie Comics.
    • Also, Banky's collection of pornographic magazines includes bizarre scenarios involving women and horses, which he reads TO A CHILD in a train station.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!:
    • Holden's reaction after seeing Alyssa kissing a woman and realizing that he and Banky were in a lesbian bar the whole time.
    • Holden grabbing Banky and dragging him out of the lesbian bar with him when he starts asking Alyssa sexual questions about being a lesbian.
    • Alyssa gets out of Holden's car and attempts to hitchhike after Holden's love confession to her.
    • Alyssa again after Holden forced her to admit she did have a promiscuous past involving a threesome. All in a public setting no less.
  • Secondary Character Title: Amy is only mentioned off-screen as the ex-girlfriend of Silent Bob, another secondary character.
  • Self-Deprecation: Jay complains about his portrayal in Bluntman & Chronic, specifically the phrase "snootchie-bootchies", which was first used in Mallrats.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The scene involving "sexual scars" was originally intended for Mallrats, between Brodie, TS and a friend of theirs named Hooper who worked at the food court (and further the Jaws references), but Universal ordered it removed. Hence, he carried it to here (and Hooper became a major character in the process).
  • Sequential Artist: Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards are writers/artists for the Bluntman and Chronic comic, Alyssa Jones is writer/artist for a comic called Idiosyncratic Routine, and Hooper X produces the comic White Hatin' Coon.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Alyssa and Banky comparing lovemaking scars is nearly identical to the famous scene from Jaws.
    • Bizarrely enough, doubles with Actor Allusion twice over. The scene where Alyssa's lesbian friends chastise her for "selling out" (her lesbianism by hooking up with Holden) mirrors a scene in Go Fish. The scene here features Guinevere Turner, who shares a name with Adams' character in Mallrats. Turner also wrote and appeared in Go Fish (although not in the scene in question). Kevin Smith says he got the idea from the film.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Holden gives one to Banky. It works.
  • Signature Style: Kevin Smith's writing and directorial style is on display here with all of its usual notes: snarky banter, limited camera movement, frank discussions of comic book sex, copious Star Wars references, and ice hockey. And My Girl Is Not a Slut, present in Clerks as well. Also a lampshading of the Degrassi Junior High references in the previous two movies.
  • The Silent Bob: In some ways subverted for this movie, because Jay and Silent Bob are only in one scene and that one scene has Bob give a poignant monologue about "chasing Amy", giving him almost as much dialogue as Jay.
  • Slut-Shaming: Holden passive-aggressively prods Alyssa to admit to her past relationships with several other men, up to and including groups at a time, in public, then rejects her apology because it means they can never be a "normal" couple.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Alyssa lights up a cigarette in bed after sleeping with Holden the second time.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: After his love confession, Alyssa has to angrily remind Holden over and over why they could never be together: because she is a lesbian. Only to change her mind and take a chance on him.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • When Holden delivers a angst filled love declaration speech to Alyssa, who is a lesbian. Instead of winning her over, it causes her to storm off angry and call him out on how selfish he was.
    • Attempting to fix both your severed friendships and relationships with a three-way offer will only destroy the relationships instead of fixing it. As Holden discovered when he proposes a three-way between him, Alyssa and Banky.
    • Confronting your lover over their promiscuous past and/or with experimentation will only damage the relationship. Especially when done in a public setting. Alyssa calls Holden out on it when it happens.
    • Alyssa's one time experimentation with a threesome still continues to haunt her well into the present day, with people talking about said rumors about her earning the embarrassing nickname "Finger Cuffs" because of said acts.
    • Holden's jealousy and insecurity over Alyssa's orientation, experimentation and sexual past causes him to push her away instead of winning her over.
    • When Alyssa is forced to come out to her lesbian friends that she is dating a man (Holden), they immediately react poorly with disgust and thinking she's a traitor to them. Sadly, this bi-erasure was Truth in Television at the time.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music:
    • When Alyssa kisses a girl after her karaoke performance, police clackers and cluc music go off, establishing that not only is Alyssa a lesbian but Holden and Banky were inside a lesbian bar this whole time.
    • When Holden spends more time with Alyssa even after discovering she is a lesbian and using their friendship as an excuse to get closer to her, the song playing over the montage goes:
    "I never will regret this, I never will, never will regret this..."
    • As Holden has dinner with Alyssa (just before his love confession in the rain), the song "Puppy Love" by Barbara Lewis appropriately plays out:
    "I thought it was love, thought it was love...."
  • Take That!: Kevin Smith word-for-word quotes a negative review of Mallrats in a deleted scene involving two snooty comic book salesmen dissing Bluntman & Chronic.
  • There Is No Try: Silent Bob tries to quote this, but is violently interrupted by Jay.
  • This Loser Is You: Downplayed with Holden, who at first is a by-the-numbers Dogged Nice Guy whom the typical audience for this kind of film can relate to, but eventually becomes an example of exactly how forcing someone to love you back is downright abusive and cruel.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Alyssa delivers one to Holden after his love declaration despite her being a lesbian.
    Holden: Aren't you at least going to comment?
    Alyssa: Here's my comment: fuck you!
    Holden: Why?
    Alyssa: That was so unfair! You know how unfair that was!
    Alyssa: No, it's unfortunate that you're in love with me. It's unfair that you felt the fucking need to unburden your soul about it! Do you remember for one fucking second who I am?!
    Holden: So? I mean, you know, people change.
    Alyssa: Oh, it's that simple? You fall in love with me and want a romantic relationship, nothing changes for you! With the exception of feeling hunky-dory all the time, but what about me, Holden?! It's not that simple! I just can't get into a relationship with you without throwing my whole fucking world into upheaval!
    Holden: Alyssa, that's every relationship! There's always going to be a period of adjustment.
    Holden: If this is a crush... then I don't know if I could take the real thing if it ever happens.
    Alyssa: Go home, Holden. (walks away)
  • Three-Way Sex: A major plot point involving Alyssa's past. Holden even suggests this as a means to try to fix things between his broken relationships with both Alyssa and Banky but it doesn't go well as he'd wished.
  • Title Drop: Learning about Holden's problems with Alyssa, Silent Bob tells him about a past girlfriend whom he ended up alienating over similar circumstances and he will always be "chasing Amy" because he screwed up that relationship.
  • Trivial Title: It's named after an anecdote Kevin Smith (as Silent Bob) delivers near the climax of the film.
  • Truth in Television: Holden's angst over Alyssa's promiscuous pansexual past is a real, very common psychological condition, often thought to be a form of OCD, known as "retroactive jealousy." Most unchecked cases often lead to the person taking their anger out on their partner or blaming themselves, both of which Holden does. It's generally agreed that the best "cure" for this condition is to accept that if your partner is with you, it's because they like you and that the past doesn't matter, as Alyssa tells Holden point-blank (and which Holden is too proud to accept until it's too late).
  • Twofer Token Minority: Hooper X, a gay black comic writer posing as an angry black militant to sell more comics.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Holden's love confession to Alyssa in his car is a rambling, awkward mess, with Alyssa clearly looking claustrophobic the whole time.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Holden and Banky bragging about how all lesbians need is a "good dicking".
  • Verbing Nouny: The film's title.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The entire second half of the movie sees Holden going from a well-meaning (albeit still possessive) idiot to an outright abusive boyfriend.
  • Wham Line:
    • Alyssa: "I BLEW HIM WHILE CODY FUCKED ME!!", confirming that she did, in fact, have a promiscuous straight past and making it clear that she does not appreciate Holden outing her about it in public. Initially she feigned blissful ignorance with his blatant interrogations (in the bleachers of a crowded hockey game no less), but the viewers could see she knew what Holden was getting at and was only getting angrier and angrier.
    • Holden: "We should all have sex together."
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The lesbian bar called "Meow Mix". Banky realizes before Holden that Alyssa has taken them here. His face is priceless.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Holden's Anguished Declaration of Love is full of the kind of flowery Purple Prose one might hear in a typical romantic comedy. Alyssa finds it more insulting than endearing. Her decision to go back to Holden after chewing him out is entirely her own.
  • Your Mom: Banky tells this to a fan accusing him of being just "a tracer".