Review by Paul Stathakis | 2006

Revenge of the Smith

“Clerks 2” is outrageously funny, foul, and touching like its predecessor.  Kevin Smith has an ear for dialogue and there are enough pop culture references here to keep a viewer amused long after the end credits. “Clerks 2” not only signals the return of Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson’s characters but also Jay (Jason Mewes) and his hetero soul mate Silent Bob (Kevin Smith).  Aside from the usual View Askew cast members is Rosario Dawson who surprisingly turns in one of the most sincere performances in recent comedies.

This is a comedy that most parents will detest or not understand especially if they haven’t seen a Kevin Smith film before.  I suspect a number of viewers who did not enjoy the movie will criticize those who found it to be rather amusing.  Everyone has an opinion and this is a movie you will either love or hate.

Smith’s new comedy-sequel is a combination of three films all rolled up into one: a) It is a film that pays homage to other Smith films, b) an offensive comedy and, c) a love story about growing up and making right choices. The third part is where the movie reveals its charming side. Like with his previous works, Smith pulls off a few nasty tricks and gets away with everything.

The first “Clerks” (1994) introduced the characters of Dante Hicks, Randal Graves, Jay, and Silent Bob. It was Kevin Smith’s first movie, his claim to fame, and an example of a well-made low-budget independent movie. The sequel has Smith more or less returning to his filmmaking roots. This time around, he achieves laughs with a bigger budgeted movie that was appropriately filmed in color.

Twelve years have passed since Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) avoided troubles at the Quick Stop, a local supermarket where they were employed as clerks.  Early on in Clerks 2, a severe fire leaves the Quick Stop in ruins forcing the clerks to settle at Mooby’s, a fictional fast-food restaurant that has a colorful and inviting appearance (like most fast-food restaurants).  Whenever a customer enters the restaurant, a cow’s mooing can be heard in the background.  Mooby’s, for those who recall, was first introduced to viewers in Smith’s Dogma (1999) and then also appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

The main characters haven’t changed. They are loud, coarse, opinionated, and not very professional at work. Several of their arguments in “Clerks 2” are uproarious, especially when a customer tries to convince Dante that the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is superior to the “Star Wars” movies.  Watch for the moment when Dante sums up Peter Jackson’s films.  There is also a recurring joke: Randall constantly refers to Anne Frank instead of Anne Keller. Rosario Dawson as Becky, the manager at Mooby’s, is a fine choice for a female lead. She is simply charming and cool and there are cameo appearances (I will not reveal them here) which add to the fun.

Sequels are seldom as fulfilling as their predecessors. Very few writers are able to continue telling a story that is actually worth continuing. Often, writers opt for sequels because of the economics (if the first film is a success chances are people will rush to see the sequel whether good or bad). But Smith stands in a category of his own, where he never seems to make a movie just to want to be making a movie. One can watch his film and claim that the humor is bland. But for those familiar with Smith’s work and for those with a sense of humor, it’s like having a sweet tooth and then being offered plenty of candy.

 

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