Man’s fascination with lesbians is one of the most bewildering aspects of the modern relationship. Maybe it’s the cliché girl-on-girl fantasy or maybe it’s the inability to comprehend that a woman might actually be in love with another woman and have no interest in men. Whatever it is, Kevin Smith captures the ridiculous thought process of men perfectly with CHASING AMY. Every man lives in a sheltered, perfectly built up world where sex is between one man and one woman and everything else is confined to adult films. But there comes a point where you learn that’s not true and that point can become more complicated if the woman you’ve fallen in love with is the one teaching you.
Such is the case with Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), a comic book writer living in New Jersey who created a popular comic with his best friend, Banky Edwards (Jason Lee). His life is relatively normal as he goes from one normal relationship to another. But his carefully structured world is turned upside down when he meets Amy (Joey Lauren Adams), the beautiful woman that is light-years ahead of Holden sexually. At this point, things get a little complicated because Amy considers herself a lesbian, but is open to dating men. Holden is straight and nearly obsessed with Amy and Banky might be gay and in love with Holden. Confused? That’s okay because it actually makes sense on film.
There’s a point where Holden’s obsession leads him to go investigate Amy’s sexual past. It was funny to watch this transpire on screen because it’s completely obvious that Holden is acting immature and irrationally. However, the funny thing is that every man has done that. Although most of us do it in high school or early college, all of us have met a mysterious woman that we’ve fallen for and then obsessed over her past. There’s something miss wired in the male brain that forces men to know every thing about women (sexually speaking). However, if you’re too immature to handle the truth, it can drive you crazy. Such is the case with Holden, whose sheltered world comes crashing down with every bit of information he learns about Amy. It’s a maddening process and watching Holden go through it was truly painful.
CHASING AMY was really the last film Kevin Smith did to hit on an aspect of young relationships that worked well on film. He’s attempted to recapture that mix of dialogue, comedy and drama several times since, each time failing to reach a level of revelation that inspires audiences to reflect on their own relationships. This is also Smith’s best dialogue that he’s ever written and the conversation in the diner between Banky and Amy is filled with great lines. Although not his most enjoyable film, I feel confident in saying that CHASING AMY is his best work as a filmmaker. This is a wonderful film that can be a little difficult to watch because it reminds us just how stupid we (men) can be when it comes to women. But at least it’s told through the eyes of Kevin Smith.