Clerks II

2007-03-19 16:02
What it’s about:

Clerks II picks up the action 10 years after the original movie, with both Dante and Randal doomed to a life of purple-and-yellow hell at Mooby's Fast Food. When they were slacking away their 20s, the friends were almost cool. Now they're in their thirties and they're beginning to look, and feel, like losers. But Dante, always the more positive of the two, is set to leave his dead-end job to marry his bossy fiancé and move to Jersey, though it's clear his gorgeous female boss is a better bet. As Dante's departure approaches, the question arises - how can Randal his colleagues give him a send-off he'll never forget? Should he leave? And will he realise he's with the wrong woman?

What we thought:

Clerks II is something of a return to form for actor-director Kevin Smith - for whom "form" essentially means what he did before he became famous and uncool. The characters from Clerks are just as passionate about the finer details in life as ever before, dissecting the most irrelevant of Star Wars' trivia as if it were as important as the war in Iraq (which is barely mentioned).

Of course, Clerks II will never be as good as Clerks, simply because it's merely repeating what was groundbreaking thirteen years ago, with a few dollops of Wayne's World flavour thrown in. Jay and Silent Bob still sell dope outside the store, but new characters provide a bit of freshness, and plot interest.

Elias is the geeky Christian who Randall torments whenever he can. Becky (Rosario Dawson) feels very real, right down to having actual stretch marks, as the sexy free spirit who somehow wound up managing Mooby's instead of living the dreams she's entitled to. Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith) is suitably plastic and annoying as Dante's fiancé, and Dante and Randal continue the same childish, clingy yet undemonstrative friendship. Expect plenty of great squirm-inducing gags at the expense of their typical-male ways and Randal's dumbness. You'll also find yourself torn between sympathy for Randal, who stands to lose his friend, and Dante's need to be more than just a guy behind a burger counter. Yes, the schadenfreude and laughter flow like beer at a Rugby game.

Although the movie's pace changes more than the sound on stretched cassette tape (as it might on a day in real life) the final scene will not disappoint fans of the sublimely ridiculous. How do we describe this scene, without giving it away? Let's just say it explores the sexual relationship between soft-hearted men, girls, and horny donkeys and is (fortunately or unfortunately) unforgettable.

Clerks II will not feel as special as the first film - its time has passed and the things that seemed so odd and daring once have been absorbed into commercial comedy style. But it's still good for many laughs. Popcorn and slush puppy highly recommended as accessories, and, for the more archetypal Kevin Smith fans, as a substitute for a date.

- Jean Barker
Kevin Smith proves he's still cool with Clerks II - the sequel to his 1994 cult comedy. It's not as fresh as the original, but it's still good for a few laughs.

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