Film Review: Clerks II

Posted in Reviews on September, 25 2006 1:31 PM

Starring: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Cert: 15
Released: 22nd September 2006

Dante (O'Halloran) and Randall (Anderson) worked at the Quickie Stop convenience mart for ten years and then it burned down. Now, both in their 30s and in desperate need for some direction they are forced to move on to new things.

Mooby's fast-food restaurant, flipping burgers.

Two years later and Dante has finally found his way out of New Jersey in the shape of fiancé, Emma, whose parents are giving them a house in Florida and making him manager of a car wash.

But even his last day at work couldn't pass that easy with Randall incessantly badgering the customers and Christian co-worker, Elias. There's also an unconventional send-off, pressure from his boss (Dawson) and the usual indolent antics from comedy duo Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith).

At one stage Smith swore that he would not make Clerks II; that the original was so sacred that he couldn't risk sullying its reputation by diluting its magic.

But then he made Jersey Girl.

And he also promised Jason Mewes that if he cleaned up then he would do another film for him. So here it is, the film that has been anticipated with equal reverence and fear by Smith fans. Obviously, anyone who has neither seen, or liked, Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma or Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back will not understand the fuss but trust me, in the world of film geekdom? This is big.

And it's an hilarious return to form. Smith has relented from the goofy slapstick last seen in Jay & Silent Bob and pulled back the verbal dexterity, wit and base crudity that make Clerks the cult classic in the first place.

It's a joy to watch Dante and Randall still bitching about the same stuff after 10 years but invigorated with modern cultural references. The Lord Of The Rings adds fuel to their Star Wars debates whilst the internet surpasses Randall's interest in porn mags and videos.

In standard Smith style, he layers on the in-jokes whether they be references from his other films or guest appearances from old chums (Ben Affleck and Jason Lee to name two) yet I don't think they divert from the main story so won't alienate the uninitiated.

Underneath all the banality and scatology is a moving story about these uninspiring people trying to find a comfortable place for themselves whilst being burdened with the pressures of social expectations.

Jersey Girl aside, this is what Smith is good at and hopefully will be able to find a compromise between leaving his NJ sagas behind and creating new films.


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