Oddly enough, I was introduced to
Kevin Smith films with CHASING AMY, not realizing he had done two other
movies before then. For some reason I didn't get around to watching
CLERKS until years after it had come out. When I finally did watch
it, I was very pleased. You could definitely tell there was a vision
behind its director. Smith makes movies from what he knows. He
doesn't try to appeal to mass audiences, which he readily admits. But
that's not a bad thing. As a result his films remain unique and sincere.
Though he's revisited some of his characters in almost all of his films,
(particularly the stoner buddies Jay and Silent Bob) this new movie marks the
first time Kevin has truly done a sequel. And how appropriate that it be
a sequel to his very first movie.
The film opens with Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) coming to work for yet
another day at the Quick Stop, his apparently lifelong career. But this
day holds an unexpected surprise. The store is in flames. Once his
next door employee buddy Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) shows up, it's revealed
that his negligence toward the coffee pot may be to blame. So Dante and
Randal find work elsewhere, and that elsewhere is a Mooby's fast food
location. This burger joint becomes their new home, and the new home of
their former outdoor fixtures, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith),
who peddle their drugs to addicts even though they themselves have apparently
cleaned up in rehab. While Randal spends his days tormenting another
younger Mooby's employee named Elias (Trevor Fehrman), Dante is preparing to
marry his girlfriend Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith). Their boss Becky
(Rosario Dawson) has a close relationship with Dante, and his impending
marriage doesn't sit well with her. Though these characters go about
their everyday lives, interesting things are beginning to come to light, and
soon everyone's daily routine could be changed forever.
Kevin set out to make a sequel to CLERKS, and that's exactly what he's
done here. It's not necessarily bigger and flashier, though there are
obvious filmmaking improvements. But rather what Smith has done is
properly continue these characters, and effectively bring them into the
present day. There are pop culture references a plenty, letting you know
this is taking place now and not then. Have Dante and Randal changed or
matured. That is a matter of opinion. But their relationship and
chemistry together is what drives this piece. It's kind of like seeing
old friends that have been lost for years, and realizing that they're just as
you remembered them. Brian O'Halloran is a great protagonist as Dante.
Often letting his emotions get the better of him, his manic personality is
consistently fun to watch. Jeff Anderson delivers terrific comedic
timing with his sarcastic character of Randal. He's that smart-ass guy
we all know, but tolerate because he makes us laugh. Watching these two
on the big screen is fun, and that's ultimately the best part of the film.
But the side performances are solid too. Rosario Dawson is so lovably
cute as Becky. I defy you not to fall in love with her character.
This is the girl we all wanted, and many of us were too stupid to act on it.
Jay and Silent Bob are used somewhat sparingly, though they are peppered quite
a bit throughout the film. I'm glad Kevin didn't overdo the Jay and Bob
scenes, simply because it could've easily distracted the audience from the
Dante and Randal story. They're in here, and they're funny, but their
strictly supporting characters. I was very impressed with Trevor Fehrman.
He has a naive comedic quirkiness about him that is begging to be used again
on the big screen. On more than one occasion I thought he stole the
scene. Kevin must have know this guy would be gold. Look for a
nice performance from Jennifer Schwalbach Smith as well playing Emma.
I've heard some people criticize Smith for using his wife in his movies (his
daughter Harley also has a cameo), but Jennifer does a good job. I
actually would've liked to see more of her, though I understand the story has
to move in a different direction. While you won't necessarily see other
View Askewniverse characters in here, there are cameos a plenty, including Ben
Affleck, Jason Lee, Wanda Sykes, and producer Scott Mosier, all given some
memorable and hilarious scenes. Are there any negatives? I could
comment on how some of the acting isn't Oscar worthy, or that Brian O'Halloran
seems better in one on one scenes with Rosario Dawson that he does in other
scenes, but why bother. This movie is fun to watch, and I had a good
time with it. Is it better than the first CLERKS? Sure, in
some ways yes. But one should expect Kevin to improve upon what has come
before. Is it the best Kevin Smith movie ever made? Again, that's
a matter of opinion. In many ways I think it's Kevin's most cohesive
effort. We can see that he, more than anyone here, has matured as a
filmmaker. Oh sure, there's dick and fart jokes, and even some
bestiality here and there, but the overall film is perhaps the most sincere
piece of work to come out of Smith. This is him showing us what he wants
to do, plain and simple. The question is now being asked whether or not
we'll see any of these characters again. If so I welcome it. These
movies aren't for everyone, but those who get it will most likely be very
pleased. I know I was.
BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of
1 to 10, 10 being best, I give CLERKS II a 9.
Visit the Weinstein Company's CLERKS II movie
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