Dogma (1999)

If this was the true story of the Bible, I would love to go to Church every Sunday.

Fallen angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck), a gnarly demon (Jason Lee) and a half-baked apostle (Chris Rock) walk among America’s cynics and innocents and duke it out for humankind’s fate. A modern-day battle against evil takes place in suburban New Jersey, after an abortion clinic worker (Linda Fiorentino) gets a higher calling from two clueless prophets (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith).

Writer and director Kevin Smith is one of my favorites and always seems to have something to talk about, except for maybe Cop Out. This one isn’t as amazing as people say, but it’s pretty balsy altogether.

Smith took on a lot of risks here talking about God, religion, apostles, Catholics, abortion, as well as plenty others and he does a relatively good job at talking about all of these themes in a funny way, without insulting anybody which I was not expecting. In a comical and thought provoking way, Kevin Smith was trying to present the idea that most of the masses are sheep when it comes to religion…that they are going through the motions and consider themselves religious because they do what they are supposed to do: go to church, confession, tithe, etc.

The film is still very funny because you still have a lot of the juvenile humor Smith is known for, and the satire of cosmic errors work well also, but this just didn’t keep me laughing like his other pictures have. I had a lot of chuckles here and there, but with his other films, I was laughing my ass off right away and even if the plot was a little bit weak, the comedy was still there to keep me entertained. The plot here is a very smartly thought-out one but it soon starts to drag on and it becomes less and less fresh and more of just a reason to have a lot of conversations about faith. Also, the ending is pretty weak because then it starts to get very strange and actually serious which kind of struck me as odd considering you have Jay & Silent Bob there the whole time. I don’t know it just seems to me that it could have been a lot funnier than what I was given.

The huge ensemble cast is what really brought the laughs out though. I loved watching Matt Damon and Ben Affleck play off of each-other the whole time as Bartleby and Loki. Linda Florentino is OK here as Bethany, but I don’t think really did well with her lines and kind of looks like she’s sleeping through the whole film. I don’t know what it was about her, but her performance just annoyed me. Salma Hayek is funny and sexy as Serendipity; Jason Lee does a good job as the evil Azrael; Alan Rickman is the one guy who brought out the most laughs as Metatron, the voice of God; and Chris Rock was a riot as Rufus, the 13th Apostle. Also, let’s not forget Jay & Silent Bob who are always hilarious with everything they do. Lastly, George Carlin as Cardinal Ignatius Glick is a classic bit of casting.

Consensus: Dogma has it’s fair share of laughs and provocative themes about faith and religion, which Kevin Smith takes on so boldly, but isn’t as funny or nearly as entertaining as his other pictures, just clever in it’s own little way.



  1. It was thin movie that convinced me that Kevin Smith is a genius. Growing up Catholic this spoke to me like someone holding a megaphone to my ear. True, not as entertaining as his other works but for those who got it, the message went over loud and clear replete with biting sarcasm. From one Jersey kid to another, I have to say thanks Kev!:P

    • I laughed a lot here and I understood the message about the Catholic teachings, it just didn’t bring me in like much of his other film’s have. Thanks Marc!

  2. Alanis Morissette IS God! This one stirred up an awful lot of controversy back in the day, but I think it’s rather unwarranted. Not a great film…..but interesting nonetheless.

  3. It’s also my favorite film from Kevin Smith whose films I’m always mixed on. It’s funny and very insightful about religion itself without trying to offend anyone.

  4. I like Kevin Smith, so this is probably one worth checking out.

    Though, I’ve only seen “Chasing Amy” and “Clerks” … loved the latter.

    Great review Dan.

  5. I think I dig this movie a little bit more than you, but it’s still absolutely no match for his two masterworks, Chasing Amy and Clerks. He’s an incredible director, always able to make us laugh while tackling all different subjects. I give him a lot of credit for even trying to make Dogma, even if it does lose some steam in the final 15 minutes.

    On a side note, I can’t fully agree with you on your list of Kevin Smith’s bad movies, though…Cop Out is awful, but it’s no worse than Jersey Girl, which is easily the lamest, most boring film with the director’s name attached to it.

    • I’m not a fan of Jersey Girl, either. I’d rather watch Cop Out, at least it has Bruce Willis in it the whole time.

      Dogma is my top Smith film, mostly due to Matt Damon. It’s just a funny film, but that may be because I like religious debate/topics, so seeing him tackle it is pretty awesome.

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